The last-32 Europa League tie between Metalist and Newcastle is finely poised ahead of the second leg in Kharkiv on Thursday night (ESPN, 6pm). The two teams played out a 0-0 draw at St James' Park last week as Newcastle saw two legitimate goals ruled out for offside and it is Ukrainian outfit Metalist who are now favourites to qualify for the next stage.
Metalist are 4/6 odds on to qualify for the last-sixteen, where either Russian side Anzhi or German outfit Hannover will lie in wait. Newcastle will be hoping that they can make it through and they showed enough in the first leg to suggest they can grab a crucial away goal on Thursday, with PaddyPower going a top price 11/10 that they qualify from this tie.
Alan Pardew's side are certainly up against it after Papiss Cisse saw two goals ruled out for offside last Thursday. Cisse is a tempting 13/2 to score first and finally get on the scoresheet this week though and things are looking up for the Magpies since Pardew brought in his legion of French players during the January transfer window.
A narrow defeat to Tottenham in the Premier League was their only loss in their last four outings and they are now up to 16th in the league table. Pardew must do without a couple of his French stars this week as Yoann Gouffran and Hatem Ben Arfa are likely to miss out and they go into Thursday's match as a 3/1 chance to pick up a surprise win, although it is Metalist who start 10/11 odds on favourites, with the draw coming in at 5/2.
The draw might be the limit of Newcastle's ambitions on Thursday as they have lost eight of their last 10 away games and they have only won once on their travels all season. Furthermore, they have won none and drawn three of their last five European away games and they face a Metalist side who have been impressive at home.
Metalist, who are currently fourth in the Ukrainian League, have only lost one of their 11 European games on home soil and they are on a five-match winning run in all competitions in Kharkiv. Jonathan Cristaldo is likely to be a key figure for them after scoring six goals in his last six appearances and the Argentine forward is 6/1 to score first and 2/1 to score anytime in the latest betting with paddypower.
However, Metalist are lacking match practise due to their league's winter break and they visibly tired during the first leg at Newcastle last week. That tiredness could open up opportunities for Newcastle and it might be worth a look at Thursday's last goal being scored after the 71st minute (evens), particularly as five of Metalist's nine goals in the Europa League group stages came during the final 15 minutes of games.
Newcastle will hope that their greater match fitness can prove telling on Thursday and the draw looks a decent punt. The correct score of 1-1 is available at 11/2 and that would be a scoreline that Alan Pardew wouldn't be displeased with as Newcastle look to nick a potentially crucial away goal in Kharkiv.
Metalist v Newcastle Tips
Tip #1: Newcastle to qualify @ 11/10 with PaddyPower.
Tip #2: Last goal to be scored after the 71st minute @ evens with PaddyPower.
Tip #3: Jonathan Cristaldo to score first @ 6/1 with PaddyPower.
To Qualify Betting
Correct Score Odds
5/1 Metalist 1-0
7/1 Metalist 2-0
7/1 Metalist 2-1
7/1 Draw 0-0
11/2 Draw 1-1
14/1 Draw 2-2
10/1 Newcastle 1-0
19/1 Newcastle 2-0
13/1 Newcastle 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
6/1 Jonathan Cristaldo
13/2 Papiss Cisse
13/2 No Goalscorer
7/1 Cleiton Xavier
7/1 William Gomes
8/1 Shola Ameobi
9/1 Hatem Ben Arfa
11/1 Sammy Ameobi
12/1 Moussa Sissoko
Odds supplied by PaddyPower.com, who offer live in-play betting for all of the Europa League matches on Thursday night.
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