Newcastle take on Metalist Kharkiv in the 2nd leg of this Europa League Round of 32 tie this evening knowing that anything less than a score draw will see them eliminated from the competition.
A lively venue, Kharkiv’s rather unimaginably named Metalist Stadium – nicknamed the spider due to the appearance of the supporting pillars outside the ground – is likely to be full to the rafters with roughly 500 Geordies squeezed into the 40,000 capacity ground.
The Metalist Stadium was used as a ground for EURO 2012 and should be familiar with Tim Krul as the Netherlands played all three of their group stage games at this very ground. Granted Timmy will be playing this time rather than having to make do with a place on the bench but at least it breeds some form of familiarity within the squad. It’s not a complete unknown to everyone.
Unfortunately, something that isn’t a complete unknown, is the partizan behaviour of their supporters. They are vocal and vociferous but a section of them have also been shown to be racist, something that was brought to light prior to EURO 2012 via a BBC documentary highlighting racist and anti-sematic behaviour within the ground. Let’s hope that tonight it is the football that does the talking and that if anything unsavoury does develop we just walk off the pitch.
Anyway, back to football. United have named a 19 man squad that will be tasked with getting a result in Ukraine. That squad can be viewed here along with some other stuff in our match preview article. Have a gander of you haven’t already done so!
Remember this is an early kick-off here in the UK which is why this is published early. Team news should be out around 5pm (kick-off at 6pm) and will be updated by Big Dave as soon as he can as I’ll be working and will be missing the match. On the other hand, me missing the match increases the chances of us getting a result as I seem to have a knack of just watching us lose!
Which neatly wraps this up. In the build up to the game it’s been argued how seriously we should be taking the match but by the end of the night we’ll know if the Europa League is something we’ll have to think about going forward or whether we can consign another cup campaign to history vault.
Howay the lads!
Metalist Kharkiv: Goryainov; Villagra, Gueye, Torsiglieri, Fininho; Torres, Edmar; Marlos, Cleiton Xavier, Sosa; Cristaldo.
Subs: Disljenkovic, Berezovchuk, Shelayev, Blanco, Jaja, Krasnopyorov, Willian.
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini (c), Haidara; Anita, Cabaye; Cisse, Sissoko, Marveaux; Shola Ameobi.
Subs: Elliot, Perch, S.Taylor, Gosling, Bigirimana, Gutierrez, Obertan.