Paris: Newcastle, with seven Frenchmen in the line-up, carved out a 0-0 draw against Anzhi Makhachkala in their Europa League last-16 tie Thursday, ending the Russians’ 100 percent home record in the tournament.
In a game of few opportunities, and in front of a smattering of fans inside a freezing Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Magpies’ manager Alan Pardew won the night’s tactical battle against wily Guus Hiddink.
The stalemate gave Newcastle the edge ahead of the second leg on Tyneside next week with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
Anzhi’s frustrations were perfectly summed up when 30 million-euro signing Willian limped out of the game early in the first half.
The Russians had the better opportunities to break the deadlock with Cameroon star Samuel Eto’o wasting three chances.
At the other end, playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa, returning after a three-month injury absence, and one of Newcastle’s French contingent in the starting eleven, had a chip saved by Vladimir Gabulov in the Anzhi goal.