By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson

Newcastle suffered a 2-0 defeat in their final Europa League Group Stage game, as Bordeaux won the battle of the two qualifiers comfortably. Both strikes came from Cheick Diabate – one in either half – and sent Newcastle’s young side back to Tyneside content with second place in Group D.

Alan Pardew made more changes than usual to his side, giving a European debut to Nile Ranger, while fellow fringe players made up the rest of the Geordies starting XI. One of the stand-in’s was arguably Newcastle’s best player too, as goalkeeper Rob Elliot made a number of good saves to keep the score down to just two.

The home side also made wholesale changes and left out some of their big names but had more experience in their ranks to see off an uninspiring Newcastle side.

Sylvain Marveaux, who impressed many on Monday night against Wigan, didn’t turn in a similar level of performance and the Ameobi brothers – who both started – had a frustrating night too.

Elliot was one of the notable performers though and made a number of saves early on as the home side pressured. Henri Saivet had the first effort, but Elliot was able to pull off a stunning one handed save. Next, he thwarted Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s effort before smothering David Bellion’s chance. Elliot has been one of Newcastle’s brightest stars of Pardew’s “backup brigade” in Europe this season and clearly enhanced his reputation again tonight.

However, the former Charlton ‘keeper couldn’t prevent his side from finally caving in. James Perch – playing at centre back while Fabricio Coloccini was rested – was comfortably out-jumped by 6”4’ Diabate, who nodded in a cross to give Bordeaux the lead.

Newcastle looked for a response but once again had no creativity to turn to, as Mike Williamson reverted to type by continuously smacking the ball up towards Shola Ameobi and the French side coped comfortably.

The one time Shola made something of a chance was when he tested Kevin Olimpa in the Bordeaux goal, only for the stand-in keeper to divert the shot wide. Shortly after, Mehdi Abeid went close with a curling effort but in truth it wouldn’t have been in keeping with the run of play.

Diabate finally grabbed the all-important second goal with just over 15 minutes to go, as a route one hoof up the field caught out the entire Magpies’ defence, allowing the Malian striker to finish through Elliot’s legs.

The loss means Newcastle go through in second place in the group and will play the home leg of their knockout game at home, before travelling to finish the job abroad. Waiting in the wings as group winners are the likes of Fenerbahce and Lyon, added to the teams that drop out of the Champions League.