Newcastle United have given themselves a solid chance of reaching the Europa League quarter-finals after forcing a 0-0 draw with Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow.
On a freezing night in Russia’s capital, the Magpies managed to thwart any advances from Guus Hiddink’s Anzhi side on the plastic pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Anzhi went into the contest having saluted in all of their European fixtures this season but Alan Pardew’s side were able to confine the home side to a single shot on goal in the first half, which required goalkeeper Rob Elliot to tip over a 30-yard effort from Samuel Eto’o.
Elliot came up with another vital save to deny Eto’o in the second half before Hatem Ben Arfa almost nicked the win for the Toon only to see his dinked attempt knocked clear by Anzhi keeper Vladimir Gabulov.
In the end, however, it was a match of very few chances which gives Newcastle every conceivable opportunity of producing a winning result at Sports Direct Arena next week.
2012/13 UEFA Europa League – Round of 16 first leg
Anzhi Makhachkala (RUS): 0
Newcastle United (ENG): 0
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow – 5,000