Toon undone by Diabate double
An inexperienced Newcastle United team fell to a 2-0 defeat against Bordeaux in a result which saw them finish as runners-up in Europa League Group D.
Newcastle had already guaranteed qualification to the knockout stages and, as expected, Alan Pardew named a youthful looking side after playing Wigan less than 72 hours previously.
Nile Ranger was handed a start only a number of weeks since it looked like his time at the club may be over, whilst Gael Birgirimana was rewarded for his fantastic goal against Wigan with a start in central midfield.
Bordeaux coach Francis Gillot followed suit by also resting his star names for the game. The French side had taken a single point from their last two league games, but had won five league matches on the trot beforehand. Their European record at the Stade Chaban Delmas was also impressive, unbeaten in eleven games.
Bordeaux started the brighter and forced Rob Elliot into a smart save after just two minutes as Newcastle struggled to impact on possession, starlet Henri Saivet with the effort. On what was a quagmire of a pitch, the home side seemed to deal better with the bobble and Elliot was forced into another sprawling stop after 18 minutes, diving low to his left to save from ex-Sunderland and Manchester United striker David Bellion.
It was only a matter of time before Bordeaux made their dominance pay, and from a Fahid Ben Khalfallah cross from the left wing Cheick Diabate headed home from close range. Newcastle's marking was slack, and Elliot was left helpless.
For the remainder of the half, Newcastle attempted to gain a foothold through consistent possession, but were let down by either a poor final ball or sloppy passing in the attacking third, and the game meandered on to half-time without Newcastle registering a single shot on Kevin Olimpa's goal.
The fact that the Magpies needed a two-goal swing to change the order of the group meant that the game was potentially over as a contest, but the club's travelling army of 1,200 fans were hoping for a second-half improvement.
They were instantly rewarded, as Newcastle started far brighter in the second period, Abeid curling narrowly wide and Shola Ameobi forced a fine reflex save from Olimpa. Possession was coupled with creativity and invention as the away side at last troubled the Bordeaux defence.
Unfortunately, as their threat waned Bordeaux killed off Newcastle with a sucker punch, and Diabate doubled his tally. The striker took advantage of a dangerously high line as he was sent through on goal, finishing through the legs of Elliot from inside the area.
The forward had doubled his tally for the season, and the game had been ended as a contest. Although Newcastle did try and settle into possession and brought on Fabricio Coloccini and Papiss Cisse but it was Bordeaux who had the better of the late chances, the impressive Gregory Sertic firing just wide.
The game drifted to the finish with the Toon Army proving the musical backdrop to a lacklustre and drab affair. Bordeaux will be seeded in the draw for the knockout phase and beat English opposition for the first time. For Newcastle, they are now without a win in 12 away games, their worst run for over 21 years. Alan Pardew may be content to put the Europa League to bed for a couple of months.
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