GABRIEL Obertan’s superbly-taken goal last night took Newcastle United to within touching distance of the Europa League knockout stages.
The 1-0 St James’ Park win over a stubborn Club Brugge side meant the Magpies remained top of Group D and in all likelihood would only need one more win from their remaining three matches to make the last 32.
They have seven points from three games and are very much in the driving seat.
So Newcastle are destined to play European football after the New Year, if they can avoid a calamity.
Maritimo and Bordeaux drew 1-1 in the other group match, which was the best result for Alan Pardew and Co.
Obertan struck the winner three minutes after half-time when he sent an unstoppable shot across Brugge goalkeeper Bojan Jorgacevic for the only goal of the game.
And the Frenchman hoped that his Euro performances, which have been impressive, can earn him more starts.
He said: “I really wanted to win this game. We knew it would be tough and I’m delighted to get three points.
“These matches are really important to me because I don’t play so much in the Premier League, so this shows the gaffer that I can start the league games.”
Both sides missed good chances in a tight match, which will be replayed in Belgium in two weeks time.