Ben Arfa confident of Newcastle progression in the Europa League

The Magpies held Anzhi Makhachkala to a 0-0 draw in the sides' last-16 first-leg meeting in Russia, a result which the Frenchman believes gives them a "great chance"
Newcastle playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa believes Thursday's 0-0 draw with Anzhi Makhachkala has put his side in a good position to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

The Magpies produced a stubborn defensive performance in Russia to earn a clean sheet in their last-16 first-leg clash with Guus Hiddink's side.

And, ahead of the return leg at St James' Park, the Frenchman has claimed that Alan Pardew's men now have a "great chance" of progressing.

He told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: "We haven't lost and we have a great chance to qualify. We were solid and we tried to keep the ball.

"But it was a night when we didn't have too many chances to score. I think 0-0 though is a good scoreline. We always prefer to score a goal or two of course.

"Yet this gives us a good chance to get through."

The 26-year old made his return from a three-month absence due to a hamstring tear at the Luzhniki Stadium, and expressed delight at being back in action.

"It was hard on the plastic pitch because it isn't easy on the knees,” he continued.

"But that is the game and we had to play on it. Overall I feel good and I am very happy to be going back with the score level."