Hatem Ben Arfa passed up a golden opportunity to celebrate his 26th birthday in style as Newcastle claimed a hard-fought scoreless draw against Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow.
The Frenchman, making his first appearance since tearing a hamstring at Fulham on Dec. 10, was played in on goal by compatriot Yohan Cabaye with 64 minutes gone, but could not beat goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov with an ambitious chipped effort.
An away goal would have seen the Magpies take a significant step toward the quarterfinals, though had keeper Rob Elliot, once again deputizing for the injured Tim Krul, not made two excellent saves from Samuel Eto'o either side of halftime, Anzhi Makhachkala could have been heading for St. James' Park next week with a lead to defend.
"I wouldn't say we are favorites because they have got good counterattacking abilities in the team, but it's going to be a very different game at St James' Park," said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. "But we really need to set it up on Sunday [against Stoke]. Sunday is something we need to put right. "If we can get a win there, then I think the mood in our stadium is going to be something that's going to be very difficult for Anzhi to cope with."
Lazio 2, Stuttgart 0
Lazio put one foot in the quarterfinals of the Europa League with a confident display to beat Stuttgart on its own turf.
Stuttgart knew it needed a result at home to have much hope, given the Italians' imposing home form, but barely created a clear opening in slumping to defeat.
Goals in either half from Honorato Ederson and Ogenyi Onazi sealed the win for Lazio, which will now take a commanding advantage back to the Stadio Olimipico, where it is unbeaten in 10 European outings.
Fenerbahce 1, Viktoria Plzen 0
Fenerbahce is in a strong position heading into its last 16 second leg after an impressive victory at Viktoria Plzen.
The Czechs failed to hit their stride and Pierre Webo's late strike in the 81st minute was deserved punishment for the home side's lack of attacking intent.
Gokhan Gonul's cross from the right found Moussa Sow at the back post, and though Webo's header was well saved, the Cameroonian followed in to put his side into the driving seat in the tie.
Basel 2, Zenit St. Petersburg 0
Basel's strong home form in Europe saw the Swiss side to a 2-0 win over Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg.
Marcelo Diaz scored in the 82nd minute after both sides had wasted a string of chances, and substitute Alexander Frei netted from the penalty spot in stoppage time after Luis Neto had seen red for a foul on Mohamed Salah.
Benfica 1, Bordeaux 0
Benfica defeated Bordeaux with an unfortunate own goal from goalkeeper Cedric Carasso proving the difference between the sides at the Estadio da Luz.
Levante 0, Rubin Kazan 0
Levante and Rubin Kazan played out a scoreless draw in a match that saw both teams finish with 10 men.
The Spanish side had a chance to take control ahead of the second leg when Rubin's Cristian Ansaldi was given a second yellow card in the 53rd minute, but Levante threw away the advantage almost immediately as Michel received a straight red card moments later.
Information from Press Association was used in this report.