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Nov 8, 2012

Pardew praises Sammy Ameobi

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew predicted big things for Sammy Ameobi after he combined with brother Shola to spark a Europa League fightback against Maribor.

The 20-year-old was a key figure as the Magpies cancelled out Club Brugge's early two-goal lead to claim a point at the Jan Breydel Stadion and ease closer to qualification for the knockout stage.

It was his 43rd-minute pass which 31-year-old Shola converted two minutes after Vurnon Anita had dragged the visitors back into the game on an eventful evening in Flanders, and Pardew was delighted with his contribution.

"I thought they were both good tonight. We had Ameobi to Ameobi - which is almost like a song - for the second goal, which was nice," he said.

"It was a great little turn from Sammy. He has just got this way of getting out of corners that I have not seen many players being able to get out of. He wriggles out of situations.

"He still needs to tighten up a little bit on the tactical and intelligence sides of the game. He takes people on where perhaps he should pass. But he will learn that. He showed his talent tonight - and he marks at set-plays, which he needs to do. He's 6'5''. He's not very good at it, but he's learning.''

Newcastle got off to a catastrophic start as the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead, aided and abetted by some dreadful defending.

Ivan Trickovski took advantage of Fabricio Coloccini's indecision to control Ryan Donk's 14th-minute long ball and beat Tim Krul, and Jesper Jorgensen doubled to dose within five minutes after shooting home from 20 yards.

But it was the Magpies who finished the half with a flurry with Anita volleying home his first goal for the club four minutes before the break and Shola Ameobi levelling.

Both sides could have won it in the second half - substitute Yohan Cabaye hit the bar with a free-kick and Krul made a series of fine saves to deny Brugge - but a point kept the Magpies at the top of the group and edged them closer to qualification for the knockout stages.

"I wasn't too concerned. I thought we would score goals tonight, it was just important not to let any more in," Pardew said. "We got a great goal from Anita after a good bit of pressure and then mmediately got the second before half-time, which was a bonus, really.

"We came in at half-time in a strong position and really all we did second half was just to make sure defensively we were sound, and apart from a few break-aways and a couple of set-plays, I thought we were and it was just about whether we were going to score the winner.

"We hit the bar and had a couple of good situations, but overall, I am delighted. Two-nil down at Bruges, it's tough. They have got pace in their team, so they are always going to be a threat.''

The draw leaves Newcastle a point clear at the top of Group D and knowing victory over Maritimo at St James' Park - a game midfielder Cheick Tiote will miss through suspension after picking up his third booking in the competition tonight - on November 22 will ensure their progression.

"We are going to have to kick ourselves if we don't beat Maritimo at home, with all due respect to them," Pardew said.

"We have got ourselves in a great position and are looking to just wrap the league up perhaps with that win there, which is our next game.''

Caretaker Brugge boss Philippe Clement was in philosophical mood after the game. "I think as a team, we can be happy with the way we played. For the supporters of both sides, it was a very good European game with a lot of fight, mentality and chances," he said.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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