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Pardew's relief after late victory
11:53am Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport
NEWCASTLE UNITED sealed a place in the quarterfinals of the Europa League last night with a dramatic late winner – and Alan Pardew admitted that for a brief second he feared Papiss Cisse’s decisive header had been ruled out.
Papiss Cisse’s stoppagetime goal prevented extratime and was the last touch of the two-legged tie with Guus Hiddink’s well-organised and attack-minded Anzhi Makhachkala.
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It was enough to separate the two teams and ensure Newcastle are in the draw for the last-eight at lunchtime today, with Pardew believing his players have knocked out one of the most competent teams in the competition.
The Magpies could face Chelsea, Tottenham, Benfica, Fenerbahce, Lazio, Rubin Kazan or Basel after an enthralling night of European football at St James’ Park.
And Pardew, reflecting on referee Deniz Aytekin’s decision not to restart the game after Cisse’s 94th minute heroics, said: “I have never experienced as late a finish as that ever.
“John (Carver, assistant manager) came over to tell me the game was over and for a horrible moment I thought it was over before he scored. It was a really tight game.
“From a technical point that was an outstanding team we played out there. We lost Yohan Cabaye in the first half, but we dogged it out. Our resilience has paid massive dividends.”
Having won the tactical battle at the death with Cisse’s firm header – which now means the Tyne-Wear derby with Sunderland moves back to Sunday, April 14 – Pardew is ready for anything the quarter- finals throws at him.
“We can’t get carried away, but I do genuinely believe we have put one of the best teams around in this competition out,” said Pardew, aiming to become the first Newcastle manager to win a trophy since 1969.
“I would pitch Anzhi as a top-five team in the Premier League. They have outstanding individuals in every area.
We have beaten them with some good fortune, but we can go on and win it. Whoever gets us will be in for an electric night in the home tie here.”
It was Cisse’s second injurytime winner of the week following on from Sunday’s drama against Stoke City on Tyneside.
Pardew said: “It was a fantastic cross from Marveaux and Papiss does what Papiss does. It was only when they got tired that the goal arrived.
He was calm and finishers are calm at that crucial moment.
I thought he was brilliant and then he got a goal.
“When you have a natural goalscorer, you need to create chances and he has not been blessed with a lot of chances in the last two games. That said we have created a lot of chances in other games and he has not scored.”
Cisse said: “When the ball came over, I thought this was the one, thank you God.”
Anzhi’s attempts to progress were not helped by the dismissal of Moroccan winger Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez.
He picked up two yellow cards in the space of six second- half minutes, meaning the Dagestan outfit had to play the remaining 35 minutes with ten men.
Hiddink had no complaints.
He said: “If we had a jury tonight we would have won unanimously, but you also have to be effective, they proved in the last minute they got the result. Congratulations.
“We could have killed the game in 17 minutes. We could blame ourselves on that failure of not having the lethal weapon. The team played a very adventurous game and even after the stupid second yellow we still took the game to Newcastle. It was bitter to lose in the last minute.”
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