Football - Pardew confident of European progress

Alan Pardew is confident Newcastle can mount a genuine challenge for Europa League glory after passing the sternest of tests in Kharkiv.

PA Sport

The Magpies arrived in Ukraine having been held to a 0-0 draw by Metalist Kharkiv on Tyneside last week and knowing the balance of the tie had shifted slight in the favour of their hosts.

But despite losing midfielder Cheick Tiote to illness an hour before kick-off, they turned in a fine away performance and Shola Ameobi's second-half penalty proved enough to claim a 1-0 win, only their second success on the road in all competitions to date this season, and progress to the last 16.

Now Pardew, who has laboured through much of the campaign to date with a depleted squad, is hoping the return of key men from injury and the addition of his five January signings can allow them to not only climb away from the relegation zone, but also extend their European adventure.

Pardew said: "It's an important result for us. We lost Cheick just before the game, but Vurnon [Anita] did an excellent job coming in late.

"He only knew an hour before we kicked off that he was going to play.

"With [Hatem] Ben Arfa coming back and Cheick to add to that side, I really feel as though we can give this competition a good go."

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