Sissoko ready to settle some scores in Ukraine

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

MOUSSA Sissoko claims his Newcastle United team-mates will be nursing a "sense of injustice" when they travel to Ukraine next week ahead of their Europa League decider with Metalist Kharkiv.

Thursday night's first leg at St James' Park ended in a goalless draw, but the Magpies were left feeling aggrieved after Papiss Cisse had two successful efforts controversially ruled out for offside.

The first decision in particular was extremely poor, with Sissoko wrongly penalised despite being almost a yard onside as he broke down the left before squaring the ball for Cisse to tap home.

Alan Pardew claims his Newcastle players will have "fire in their belly" as they prepare for Thursday's second leg, and Sissoko agrees they will fly out of the North-East determined to right a few wrongs.

"There is a sense of injustice in the team because of what happened," said the French midfielder. "If they were good goals, then it is a bit unfair.

"Obviously, it is a shame we could not score to make up for it, but looking on the bright side, we created a lot of chances to score, made a lot of opportunities for ourselves and while, certainly, we are disappointed, there is one match to go and we will go out there and make sure we score in that one.

"It is not good for us that the goals were wrongly disallowed, but in sport, referees can make mistakes. It does happen and we cannot allow it to affect us too much."The positive thing is that it has not cost us the tie. We just have to do what we have to do when we get another chance next week."

Metalist will start as strong favourites to progress when they kick off in the Metalist Stadium, with Newcastle having claimed just one away victory from 19 attempts in all competitions this season.

However, with the Magpies having successfully kept a clean sheet on Tyneside, a score draw will be good enough to take them through to the last 16, where they would line up against either Anzhi Makhachkala or Hannover.

An away goal in Kharkiv could be invaluable, and while Newcastle were unable to break down the Metalist defence two days ago, they have failed to score in just one of their last 13 Premier League outings.

"I think we have shown that we can score at any time in the matches since I have been here," said Sissoko. "Unfortunately, (on Thursday) we couldn't - we just did not have the luck on our side.

"Sometimes they fall for you, sometimes they don't. But there is confidence in this side. We know what we are capable of. Next week in the second leg, we just have to make sure that we do score."

Sissoko has claimed two goals in four matches since moving to England, but if Newcastle are to hit the back of the net next Thursday, there is every chance Cisse will be the player doing the damage.

The Senegal international has spent most of this season struggling to recapture the blistering form he displayed in the second half of last term, but there have been signs of a resurgence in a number of his recent displays.

Thursday night's performance was especially bright, with Cisse making a series of telling runs behind the Metalist defence.

He should have finished with at least one goal to his name, and while he has only managed seven goals in the whole of this season, Sissoko is confident he will have a major impact in the remainder of the campaign.

"He is a very good striker," he said. "He gets in such good positions that he gets a lot of chances in a match. It was not his night (on Thursday). He just could not score - or at least he could not score a goal that was allowed!

"But all his team-mates have a lot of confidence in him. We know that given the opportunities, he will score many goals for Newcastle.

"We know exactly what he can do and what his strengths are. I am sure that between now and the end of the season, he will find the net many times. Hopefully, the goals will start to flow next week in Ukraine."

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