Newcastle ease past Bordeaux
Magpies go top of their group and end visitors' unbeaten run
Last Updated: 04/10/12 10:20pm
Shola Ameobi opened the scoring after good work from Gabriel Obertan
Newcastle went top of Group D in the Europa League with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Bordeaux on Thursday night.
Bordeaux started brightly but were undone by the first piece of real quality in the game when Gabriel Obertan found space to get to the byline and cross for Shola Ameobi to tap home.
A series of long-range efforts followed but neither side was getting much joy in the penalty box until Henrique stabbed the ball past his own goalkeeper from a hopeful Danny Simpson cross.
Bordeaux had come into the match on a 17-game unbeaten run stretching back to April but the game was effectively over early in the second half when Papiss Cisse swept home from Shane Ferguson's left-wing cross.
Cisse's inclusion reflected the fact that Alan Pardew had named a strong side and the likes of Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa were on the bench if needed too.
But instead the Newcastle boss was able to withdraw Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote midway through the second half as his thoughts turned to the weekend Premier League game against Manchester United.
There was little to choose between the sides early on as Cabaye reminded his compatriots of his talent, while Czech playmaker Jaroslav Plasil pulled the strings for the visitors.
Indeed, after Cabaye had whipped an early shot across the face of goal the Girondins should have taken the lead when Plasil crossed from the left for Ludovic Obraniak to head high and wide when he might have done significantly better.
Rob Elliot needed to make a smart 15th-minute save from Yoan Gouffran - but the home side took the lead seconds later in impressive fashion.
Cabaye played an inviting pass out to Obertan on the left and he carved his way into the box past Mariano and then Henrique to put the ball on a plate for Ameobi at the far post.
The visitors responded in determined fashion with midfielder Ludovik Sane glancing a header straight at Elliot and then forcing the goalkeeper to dive to his left to parry a 40-yard thunderbolt.
In the meantime, sensing Bordeaux were starting to gain control, Pardew altered the 4-3-3 formation with which he had started to a more conventional 4-4-2, which brought Cisse further infield, and Newcastle immediately had a more compact shape.
The contest remained evenly balanced, but it tipped heavily in the home side's favour with five minutes of the half remaining.
Ameobi slid the ball into the fit-again Danny Simpson's path as the right-back overlapped and when he drilled a cross into the box, Henrique could not resist the temptation to get his toe to it, succeeding only in turning it past keeper Cedric Carrasso and into his own net.
Carrasso came to his side's rescue three minutes later when he blocked Vurnon Anita's close-range effort after Cisse had played him in, and the Magpies left the pitch at the break knowing the three points were all but in their grasp.
Pardew was forced to make a change at the break when he had to replace Elliot, who had been struggling towards the end of the first half, with Steve Harper.
Gillot withdrew Plasil and Obraniak to send on Landry N'Guemo and Cheick Diabate with the game rapidly slipping away from his team and Bordeaux might have been back in it had a combination of Harper and the post not kept out Henri Saivet's cheeky 48th-minute backheel.
However, the game was effectively over within seconds. The ball found its way to Shane Ferguson on the left and his cross was scooped expertly past Carrasso and in off the foot of the post by Cisse.
Sunderland old boy David Bellion might have reduced the deficit 16 minutes from time when he got the benefit of what looked like a generous offside decision, but Harper refused to be beaten.