Group D leaders Newcastle United FC are on the verge of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 after coming from two down to draw with Club Brugge KV in an entertaining match at the Jan Breydelstadion.
Goals inside the opening 19 minutes from Ivan Tričkovski and Jesper Jørgensen rewarded the Belgian hosts for a start played at a furious pace, and while the tempo barely slackened, the English visitors gradually came back into it. By half-time they were level after two goals in three minutes, a stunning Vurnon Anita volley preceding a calm Shola Ameobi finish. Either side could have nicked it after the restart, with Shola Ameobi and Yohan Cabaye hitting the crossbar, but a 2-2 draw rewarded both teams' endeavour.
Newcastle began tentatively, though, and had already survived a Carlos Bacca chance when Tričkovski, collecting a Ryan Donk pass, drove in with his left foot on 14 minutes. The home fans raised their voices and then the roof five minutes later when the unmarked Jørgensen rifled a powerful low shot into the corner of Tim Krul's goal from just outside the area.
The Premier League outfit looked short of ideas, though not Anita as he returned Tom Høgli's headed clearance with interest, finding the net with a fine volley. Soon they were level as Shola Ameobi collected a pass from younger brother Sammy and coolly slotted in.
Shola Ameobi twice came close to putting Newcastle into the lead after the break, including a header that shaved the bar, while Cabaye's free-kick made an even greater impact with the woodwork. Club Brugge had opportunities too, through Bacca, Vadis Odjidja and Jørgensen, but Newcastle held on for a point that leaves them four points clear of their third-placed opponents with two Group D games to go.
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