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Friday 23 November 2012

UEFA Europa League: Injuries mar Newcastle progress

Newcastle reach UEFA Europa League knockout stage; Liverpool and Spurs' fate in balance

  • Hatem Ben Arfa will miss Newcastle's trip to Southampton after picking up a hamstring injury

  • Jonjo Shelvey was praised by manager Brendan Rodgers after his goal for Liverpool

  • Jermain Defoe drew a blank as Tottenham were held to a goalless draw by Lazio

Newcastle United are through to the knockout stage but Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur's group campaigns will go down to their final match as all three Barclays Premier League sides drew in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night.

Newcastle 1-1 Maritimo

Newcastle were 11 minutes away from booking their passage into the next stage of the competition with a win thanks to Sylvain Marveaux’s strike midway through the first half until Brazilian striker Fidelis pounced to earn the visitors a point.

"Ben Arfa's hamstring problem will keep him out of Sunday's game at Southampton and probably Wednesday's at Stoke"
Alan Pardew

The Magpies, who are second in Group D, a point behind leaders Bordeaux, progressed despite being pegged back, but of concern to manager Alan Pardew will be injuries to midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, who limped off with a hamstring injury after setting up Marveaux’s goal, and striker Papiss Cisse, who was substituted after picking up a back problem.

"I'm delighted we're through but Hatem's hamstring problem will keep him out of Sunday's game at Southampton and probably Wednesday's at Stoke," Alan Pardew said. "The doctor says it isn't a tear though so it shouldn't be too long term."

In stoppage time Fidelis might have snatched a win for the Portuguese side when he sent a volley fizzing narrowly wide, which left Pardew admitting his side need to improve for their Barclays Premier League trip to Southampton.

"We're going to have to be a lot better at Southampton," he said. "A few players are going to have to step up to the plate."

Liverpool 2-2 Young Boys

Liverpool were denied a place in the Round of 32 by an 88th-minute equaliser by Elsad Zevrotic in a dramatic encounter at Anfield.

"We're still in control of our destiny; this just makes it a wee bit harder"
Brendan Rodgers

Joe Cole appeared to have sealed the Reds’ progress to the next stage on 72 minutes when he finished off a slick move involving substitutes Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez with his first goal for the club since April 2011.

Cole’s effort restored a lead that had been erased when Raul Bobadilla equalised Jonjo Shelvey’s first-half goal with a 52nd-minute strike from outside the area.

However, with less than two minutes on the clock Zevrotic unleashed a piledriver that left Pepe Reina with no chance and his side requiring a win at Udinese in two weeks’ time to be sure of going through to the knockout stage.

“We’re still in control of our destiny; this just makes it a wee bit harder,” said Liverpool Brendan Rodgers, who singled two midfielders out for special praise. "Jonjo Shelvey was outstanding and Joe Cole proved he’s a fighter who always works hard."

Lazio 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham will be confident of progressing to the next stage after holding on for a goalless stalemate at the Stadio Olimpico.

"Lloris was decisive in a couple of moments"
Andre Villas-Boas

In a disappointing match, the north Londoners were indebted to the excellent goalkeeping of Hugo Lloris, who denied Libor Kozak on three occasions.

"It was important for him and he was a great help for the team," said visiting manager Andre Villas-Boas said. "He was decisive in a couple of moments."

For Tottenham, who welcomed back second-half substitute Mousa Dembele from injury, a fifth draw of the campaign against Panathinaikos at White Hart Lane in a fortnight will suffice to reach the Round of 32 stage.

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Key Points

  • Newcastle United through to UEFA Europa League Round of 32 after 1-1 draw with Maritimo
  • Magpies' achievement undermined by injuries to Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse
  • Liverpool and Tottenham's fates hanging on final game after draws with Young Boys and Lazio respectively