PAPISS Cisse told of his joy after heading Newcastle into the Europa League quarter-finals last night.
Cisse struck deep in injury time at St James’s Park last night to secure a 1-0 aggregate win over 10-man Anzhi Makhachkala.
And the Senegalese striker, following up his weekend winner against Stoke, feels his 23rd goal for Newcastle is by far the most important he has yet scored.
“I’m so happy – we’ve won again, and I’ve scored again,” Cisse said. “It was very important, probably the most important yet.
“But for me the most important is that the team wins and goes through.”
Cisse had been a peripheral figure up to his dramatic intervention, when he headed a deep Sylvain Marveaux cross past Vladimir Gabulov with what was the last moment of the game.
But the 27-year-old always felt he would get a chance to book Newcastle a place in the last eight – with the draw today.
“The striker must always keep his concentration – the tie wasn’t finished, and the game was still alive,” he added.
“The game wasn’t finished. Only when the ref blows, it’s over – so I knew we still had time. I always felt we could still score in normal time.
“I saw Sylvain and knew he had one last ball in him. He put in a perfect ball for me, and luckily I scored.
“I had just one chance, and I scored it. Sometimes they fall better for you, sometimes they are difficult to come by, but that’s football.”
“I’m a little tired, but the goal will help me rest.”
The goal took Cisse’s goal tally for the season to 10 – and he’s now looking to add to that total as Newcastle battle at home and abroad, with Wigan Athletic next up at the DW Stadium on Sunday.
Manager Alan Pardew said: “When you have got a natural goalscorer, then you need to create chances, and (Cisse) hasn’t been blessed with a lot of chances in the last two games.
“Having said that, we had a run of games here where he had loads of chances and didn’t score, and that’s how sometimes it goes for a striker.
“We kept saying ‘he keeps getting into position, but not scoring’. This week, he had really and truly, I would say, two really good chances and scored them both.”
Rarely will St James’s Park have witnessed as dramatic a goal as Cisse’s winner to sink Guus Hiddink’s big-spending Russians. It was high drama. It was what European football was all about.
But for the first 45 minutes, it did not go to plan for the Tynesiders. Anzhi went at Newcastle like a Trans-Siberian Express train, attacking with pace and purpose and only Steven Taylor could cope.
Odil Ahmedov shot into the side netting after an error by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, as Anzhi failed to capitalise on their dominance.
Newcastle rallied after the break. Midfielder Moussa Sissoko headed a Davide Santon cross over the bar, then the visitors saw Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, booked late in the first half, shown a second yellow for leaving a foot in on Massadio Haidara.
Cheik Tiote – careless in possession at times – shot wide as the match edged into the last quarter of an hour of normal time as Newcastle, in the ascendancy for the first time, pressed for a goal.
There were nervous moments – Samuel Eto’o forced a save from Rob Elliot – and Mbark Boussoufa struck the crossbar with an 88th-minute free-kick which had Elliot beaten.
But, when extra time looked certain, up stepped Cisse to power home a headed winner, sending the big home crowd into ecstasy.
H Former Newcastle striker Nile Ranger was last night charged with common assault, following an incident in the car park of The Gate entertainment complex on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old will appear before Newcastle Magistrates’ Court today.
NEWCASTLE: Elliot, Santon, Yanga-Mbiwa, S Taylor, Haidara, Cabaye (Gutierrez 37), Sissoko, Anita (Campbell 71), Marveaux, Tiote, Cisse. Subs: Harper, Perch, Bigirimana, Obertan, Shola Ameobi. Booked: Anita
ANZHI MAKHACHKALA: Gabulov, Yeschenko, Carlos, Ewerton, Boussoufa, Jucilei, Gonzalez, Zhirkov, Ahmedov, Diarra (Shatov 74), Eto’o. Subs: Pomazan, Tagirbekov, Logashov, Agalarov, Traore, Smolov. Sent off: Gonzalez (55). Booked: Gonzalez, Zhirkov
Att: 45,487. Ref: Deniz Aytekin