Newcastle United FC recorded the point they needed at Eintracht Frankfurt to top UEFA Cup Group H, leaving the German challengers requiring a win at Fenerbahçe SK in a fortnight if they are to join the English club in the Round of 32.
Profligate finishing cost Eintracht in Germany, not least in the 86th minute when Naohiro Takahara beat the visitors' offside trap only to lob the ball over as goalkeeper Shay Given advanced. Newcastle were chasing a club-record sixth straight European victory, but were delighted with the draw which leaves them in an unassailable position at the summit with a round of matches to play on 13 December.
Roused by their vociferous supporters, Eintracht made a storming start and Takahara had already forced defender Steven Taylor into a vital block when three corners in quick succession caused panic in the Newcastle box. The Magpies defended stoutly but nearly cracked with 25 minutes gone as Markus Weissenberger crossed to the unmarked Albert Streit whose downward header was kept out by the legs of Given before Titus Bramble and James Milner hustled the ball away.
The visitors posed little threat as an attacking force, although Emre Belözoğlu curled a free-kick just wide on the stroke of half-time. Eintracht took up where they had left off after the break, Streit collecting Takahara's raking pass on the left and cutting inside before letting fly a long-range shot which Taylor deflected clear. Ioannis Amanatidis then wasted a glorious chance, inexplicably failing to connect properly with a header when unmarked four metres from goal after being found by the impressive Takahara.
Newcastle almost made the hosts pay in the 61st minute when Antoine Sibierski saw his well-placed header cleared off the line. A defeat would have been tough on Eintracht who will need to be far more clinical when they put their hopes on the line in Istanbul.