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Sammy Ameobi tipped for big things by Alan Pardew

Pardew backs Sammy for big things after Ameobi Jnr stars in Bruges

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 9 November 2012

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew predicted big things for Sammy Ameobi after he combined with brother Shola to spark a Europa League fightback against Maribor.

The 20-year-old was a key figure as the Magpies cancelled out Club Brugge's early two-goal lead to claim at point at the Jan Breydel Stadion and ease closer to qualification for the knockout stage.

It was his 43rd-minute pass which 31-year-old Shola converted two minutes after Vurnon Anita had dragged the visitors back into the game on an eventful evening in Flanders, and Pardew was delighted with his contribution.

Impressive: Sammy Ameobi starred as Newcastle came back from 2-0 down to draw in Bruges

Impressive: Sammy Ameobi starred as Newcastle came back from 2-0 down to draw in Bruges

Impressive: Sammy Ameobi starred as Newcastle came back from 2-0 down to draw in Bruges

High hopes: Pardew wants Ameobi to contribute more defensively

High hopes: Pardew wants Ameobi to contribute more defensively

He said: 'I thought they were both good tonight. We had Ameobi to Ameobi – which is almost like a song – for the second goal, which was nice.

'It was a great little turn from Sammy. He has just got this way of getting out of corners that I have not seen many players being able to get out of. He wriggles out of situations.

'He still needs to tighten up a little bit on the tactical and intelligence sides of the game. He takes people on where perhaps he should pass.

'But he will learn that. He showed his talent tonight – and he marks at set-plays, which he needs to do. He's 6'5″.

'He's not very good at it, but he's learning.'

Newcastle got off to a catastrophic start as the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead, aided and abetted by some dreadful defending.

Ivan Trickovski took advantage of Fabricio Coloccini's indecision to control Ryan Donk's 14th-minute long ball and beat Tim Krul, and Jesper Jorgensen doubled to dose within five minutes after shooting home from 20 yards.

But it was the Magpies who finished the half with a flurry with Anita volleying home his first goal for the club four minutes before the break and Shola Ameobi levelling.

Both sides could have won it in the second half – substitute Yohan Cabaye hit the bar with a free-kick and Krul made a series of fine saves to deny Brugge – but a point kept the Magpies at the top of the group and edged them closer to qualification for the knockout stages.

Pardew said: 'I wasn't too concerned. I thought we would score goals tonight, it was just important not to let any more in.

Oh brother: Shola Ameobi scored Newcastle's equaliser

Oh brother: Shola Ameobi scored Newcastle's equaliser

Oh brother: Shola Ameobi scored Newcastle's equaliser

'We got a great goal from Anita after a good bit of pressure and then immediately got the second before half-time, which was a bonus, really.

'We came in at half-time in a strong position and really all we did second half was just to make sure defensively we were sound, and apart from a few break-aways and a couple of set-plays, I thought we were and it was just about whether we were going to score the winner.

'We hit the bar and had a couple of good situations, but overall, I am delighted. Two-nil down at Bruges, it's tough.

'They have got pace in their team, so they are always going to be a threat.'

Satisfied: Pardew (left) has his side on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages

Satisfied: Pardew (left) has his side on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages

The draw leaves Newcastle a point clear at the top of Group D and knowing victory over Maritimo at St James' Park – a game midfielder Cheick Tiote will miss through suspension after picking up his third booking in the competition tonight – on November 22 will ensure their progression.

Pardew said: 'We are going to have to kick ourselves if we don't beat Maritimo at home, with all due respect to them.

'We have got ourselves in a great position and are looking to just wrap the league up perhaps with that win there, which is our next game.'

Caretaker Brugge boss Philippe Clement was in philosophical mood after the game.

He said: 'I think as a team, we can be happy with the way we played. For the supporters of both sides, it was a very good European game with a lot of fight, mentality and chances.'

Joe Cole injury not serious, says Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers denies injury is serious as Cole subbed with hamstring complaint

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UPDATED:

06:08 GMT, 3 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has played down Joe Cole's injury after the playmaker was substituted during the Reds' 1-0 Europa League third qualifying round victory over Gomel.

Cole, who spent last season on loan at Lille, lasted just 23 minutes before he was replaced by 17-year-old Raheem Sterling at the Central Stadion in Belarus.

'Joe just felt his hamstring a little bit,' Rodgers said. 'I don't think it is totally pulled and it was just a little bit of tightness so we had to take him off.

Rough and tumble: Joe Cole in a midfield battle

Rough and tumble: Joe Cole in a midfield battle

'It disrupted our plans a little bit but it was better to have him come off rather than risk injury.'

Glen Johnson was replaced by Martin Kelly just one minute into the start of the second period, but Rodgers said that was a tactical move and not forced upon him.

'Glen was only scheduled to play 45 minutes anyway so he was taken off as planned,' he added.

Stewart Downing's second half strike meant Rodgers' first competitive game in charge of Liverpool ended with victory, and the former Swansea boss was pleased with what he saw.

G-star: Steven Gerrard barges in

G-star: Steven Gerrard barges in

'It will take time until Liverpool start playing the way Swansea did last season (tactically),' he said. 'Actually the way you play depends on the players you have.

'As for today I saw two things which were very important for me, I saw desire and commitment. I am very grateful to my players for a good game.

'Obviously it was a serious test of the players' fitness and I am really happy with the result.

'This was my first competitive game in charge of Liverpool and for me it didn't really matter whether the game was played in Belarus or Brazil as I am really honoured to manage this side.'

Goal king: Stewart Downing finally struck in a Liverpool shirt

Goal king: Stewart Downing finally struck in a Liverpool shirt

And the Ulsterman was impressed with Gomel, who on another day could have emerged victorious after wasting plenty of chances in front of goal.

Rodgers continued: 'This game was a great test for us at this point of the season. Today we saw that Gomel is a very good club which is already into the season.

'Their tactical idea was to defend and counter-attack so it was difficult for us to find the open spaces in the first half but at half-time I told my players to be patient and that the chances would come.

'After the first 45 minutes I also changed the structure of the midfield and Steven Gerrard started to play a bit lower than the other two central midfielders.

'I am glad that Stewart scored the goal as we put him on that side to come in and shoot. It was a great shot.'

Fulham 0 HB Koge 0: Martin Jol"s men held in pre-season opener

Fulham held in pre-season opener as Jol's men fail to break down Danish side

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UPDATED:

16:37 GMT, 15 July 2012

Clean sheet: Mark Schwarzer captained Fulham

Clean sheet: Mark Schwarzer captained Fulham

Fulham played out a goalless draw against HB Koge of Denmark in their first pre-season match in Leipzig.

Veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer captained the side which included a mix of first-team players and reserves at FC Grimma's Stadion der Freundschaft.

There were few chances during the first half, with Marcello Trotta's volley well saved by the Koge goalkeeper.

Following the restart, Fulham manager Martin Jol changed his entire XI, which saw new signings Sascha Riether and Mladen Petric make their bow.

However, despite more pressure, the Cottagers continued to be frustrated as Mesca's drive was deflected wide then John Arne Riise's shot was straight at the keeper.

There were late chances for Petric, who headed over, and Riise, who dragged his shot wide when clear.

Europa League round-up: Tim Matavz scored twice for PSV Eindhoven

Europa League round-up: Matavz brace sends PSV through as Udinese overcome Greek test

Tim Matavz scored twice as Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven blazed into the last 16 of the Europa League by wrapping up a 6-2 aggregate victory over Trabzonspor.

Matavz's brace helped PSV to a 4-1 second-leg win at the Philips Stadion. The result was a formality by half-time, with the hosts 3-1 up and the Turkish side reduced to 10 men following the sending-off of goalkeeper Tolga Zengin.

The visitors started with hope after a narrow 2-1 loss in Turkey but a 15th-minute Dries Mertens penalty extended PSV's advantage and Matavz and Kevin Strootman extended PSV's lead before Burak Yilmaz pulled one back.

Easy does it: Tim Matavz scored twice for PSV Eindhoven

Easy does it: Tim Matavz scored twice for PSV Eindhoven

Zengin was sent off one minute before the break for handling the ball outside his area and Matavz rounded off a fine display by the Dutch team when he scored his side's fourth and final goal seven minutes after the break.

PSV will face Valencia in the last 16 after Los Che also made it through at the expense of Premier League Stoke.

A 24th-minute goal from Jonas gave the Spanish side a 1-0 win on the night at the Mestalla and a 2-0 aggregate success.

In it goes: Matavz scores for PSV

In it goes: Matavz scores for PSV

Udinese shrugged off the disappointment of a goalless first leg in Italy to hammer PAOK Salonika 3-0 in Greece. Danilo opened the scoring after six minutes and Antonio Floro Flores and Maurizio Domizzi sealed an emphatic victory.

Former Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf scored the only goal as Hannover won 1-0 in Belgium to complete a 3-1 aggregate triumph over Club Brugge.

Nacer Chadli's 29th-minute effort earned FC Twente a 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest for a 2-0 aggregate victory, while a goalless draw was good enough for Standard Liege to squeeze past Wisla Krakow 1-1 on aggregate on the away goals rule.

On the scoresheet: Mame Biram Diouf scored the only goal of the game for Hannover against Club Brugge

On the scoresheet: Mame Biram Diouf scored the only goal of the game for Hannover against Club Brugge

Athletic Bilbao beat Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 to also advance on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate score. Iker Muniain scored the crucial goal two minutes after Fernando Amorebieta's 60th-minute sending-off.

Last year's runners-up Braga were knocked out despite a brave bid to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit. The Portuguese side beat Besiktas 1-0 in Turkey through an early strike by Rodrigo Lima, but lost out 2-1 on aggregate.

Atletico Madrid eased home against Lazio with a 1-0 win on the night giving them a 4-1 aggregate success. Diego Godin scored the only goal early in the second half at the Estadio Vicente.

Ukrainians Metalist Kharkiv completed an emphatic 8-1 aggregate win over Salzburg with a 4-1 win in Kharkiv, while Greek side Olympiacos rounded off a 2-0 aggregate win over Rubin Kazan with a 1-0 second leg win.

Hat-trick hero: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar got three goals for Schalke against FC Viktoria Plzen

Hat-trick hero: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar got three goals for Schalke against FC Viktoria Plzen

Matias Fernandez scored a late winner for Sporting Lisbon against Polish side Legia Warsaw, which was enough to see the Portuguese side 3-2 on aggregate after a 1-0 win on the night.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored a hat-trick including two goals in extra-time as Schalke nudged past Viktoria Plzen 3-1 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.

Huntelaar had opened the scoring in the seventh minute but Frantisek Rajtoral struck an 88th-minute equaliser for Plzen despite the sending-off of Marek Bakos on the hour.

However, Schalke dominated extra-time and they were rewarded with Huntelaar putting them ahead in the second half before he sealed victory on the stroke of full-time.

England to play Norway and Belgium before Euro 2012

England set up friendlies with Norway and Belgium before Euro 2012

England will face Norway and Belgium in their final two friendlies before Euro 2012.

Fabio Capello's men will head to Oslo to take on Norway on Saturday, May 26 in the same Ullevaal Stadion in which they famously lost to the Scandinavians in 1981, prompting Bjorge Lillelien's memorable commentary that ended with the immortal line: 'Your boys took a hell of a beating.'

Final countdown: England have lined-up friendlies against Norway and Belgium before they set off for Euro 2012

Final countdown: England have lined-up friendlies against Norway and Belgium before they set off for Euro 2012

Seven days later, on June 2, England entertain a Belgium side that could contain Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany and Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen, in their final warm-up game before heading to their base in Krakow ahead of the opening Euro 2012 encounter with France in Donetsk on June 11.

It will be the 21st meeting between the two nations with England losing just once, and their first encounter at Wembley since 1964.

In good Kompany: England will take on Belgium, who boast Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany (C), at Wembley

In good Kompany: England will take on Belgium, who boast Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany (C), at Wembley

'Since the draw in December we have been able to work towards these matches and the appropriate opposition, and I'm very happy with these two games,' said coach Fabio Capello.

'In the draw we face one of the hosts, Ukraine, which will be a difficult atmosphere to replicate, but looking at the styles of France and Sweden I feel these games are a good preparation for us.'

No kick-off times have been confirmed as yet and ticket information will be released in due course.