Newcastle United book a return trip to Eastern Europe

So Newcastle's wildly unpredictable season continues. It could yet include silverware AND relegation. It will definitely include at least one more long haul flight to Eastern Europe.

It's the nature of European Football that there's often very little time to celebrate. Newcastle United flew straight back to Tyneside after the game to start preparations for Sunday's all-important Premier League clash with Southampton.

The manager, Alan Pardew, was looking forward, not back, as soon as the final whistle sounded in Kharkiv last night.

He said: "We had some real heroes today and it's been a great week for us. We just need to repeat it on Sunday because that will be an important game.

"It could give us some breathing space in the Premier League, so we need to recover quickly. There will be changes for Sunday and hopefully we will get a result."

But Newcastle fans can take a moment or two to enjoy a thoroughly professional performance against a decent Metalist Kharkiv side. Shola Ameobi's penalty was the only goal across the two legs.

It earned the Magpies an intriguing tie against Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League's Round of 16.

They're the team that allegedly pay former Barcelona Striker Samuel Eto'o somewhere north of £300,000 a week to play for them.

They come from Dagestan, but safety worries in that area led to UEFA ordering them to play their home european ties in Moscow this season.

Indeed, the first leg has now been confirmed. It'll take place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at 5pm GMT on Thursday, March 7th. The return leg is at St James Park, one week later.

So Newcastle's wildly unpredictable season continues. It could yet include silverware AND relegation. It will definitely include at least one more long haul flight to Eastern Europe.