Newcastle United 1 Club Brugge 0
Newcastle United celebrated their return to St James' Park with a composed victory over Club Brugge that puts them to within touching distance of qualifying for the knockout phase with three group games left to play.
Brugge were dangerous opponents, sitting deep but always capable of getting at least two men forward on the counter-attack, but Gabriel Obertan's 48th minute strike was enough to give Newcastle the edge over the Belgians.
Inside the first two minutes Maxime Lestienne almost caught Steve Harper by surprise with a snap-shot the Newcastle goalkeeper getting down well in the end to gather the ball at the second attempt.
It set the pattern for the first half, Newcastle dominating territory, but unable to find a way past goalkeeper Bojan Jorgacevic, while Brugge remained a menace every time they broke free with speed.
Newcastle should have had a penalty when Papiss Cisse was crudely shoved to the ground by Bart Buysse as he waited for Sammy Ameobi's cross and was then denied a goal by a magnificent save from the Serbian, who somehow kept out his downward header after it had bounced nastily in front of him.
Ameobi continued to give evidence of his huge potential, regularly beating Brugge players with the ball at his feet and one mazy run also saw him go close to a goal when he cut inside off the right wing only to roll his shot wide from the edge of the area.
Cisse was again frustrated by Jorgacevic before the break, clawing his shot out of the top corner after the Senegal striker had seized on Obertan's cross.
Newcastle finally got the goal they needed to ruin Brugge's gameplan as the Ameobi brothers combined to set up Obertan. Shola, on for Vurnon Anita at half-time, flicked the ball to his younger sibling, Sammy, who with a superb piece of skill, flicked the ball over his marker, took it down again and sprinted away.
With Brugge players running to surround him, the 20-year-old showed impressive awareness to slide the ball, a split second before he was tackled, on to Obertan, who thumped his shot past Jorgacevic.
Brugge almost equalised immediately, but Harper turned Lior Refaelov's effort away for a corner. The Belgians moved on to the offensive, Carlos Bacca just unable to reach Lestienne's cross before somehow heading another from inside the six-yard box bouncing over the crossbar.
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Harper; Santon, Perch, Williamson, Ferguson (Cabaye 80); Tiote, Anita (Shola Ameobi 46), Bigirimana; Obertan, Cisse, Sammy Ameobi (Coloccini 73). Subs: Krul, Ben Arfa, Ba, Adam Campbell. Booked: Tiote, Bigirimana.
Club Brugge (4-1-4-1): Jorgacevic; Hogli, Hoefkens, Jordi, Buysse; Jorgensen, Refaelov (Trickovski 55), Odjidja, Blondel (Van Acker 83), Lestienne; Bacca. Subs: Kujovic, Vleminckx, Vasquez, Vansteenkiste, Engels. Booked: Blondel, Odjidja.
Referee: M Hansson (Sweden).
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