Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hailed Hatem Ben Arfa's first FA Cup goal as the best he had ever seen in person after a dramatic 2-1 victory over Blackburn.
The mercurial Frenchman emerged from the frustration of having to bide his time on the bench since his return from an horrific leg fracture by marking a rare start with a stunning 70th-minute equaliser. He cut a swathe through the Blackburn team with a breathtaking mazy run before blasting a left-footed shot past Mark Bunn to set up a thrilling finish.
Pardew said: "It's the greatest goal, in my opinion, I have ever seen with my eyes because just the technical part of it - to beat six players, to skip past people, left-foot, right-foot, cut-back, accelerate, everything that was involved in it, it was an unbelievable goal. I am absolutely chuffed for him."
Ben Arfa's contribution came at the end of a week during which he spoke of his disappointment at being unable to force his way into the team, although his manager had no problem with his comments.
He said: "I didn't have to clear the air with him. His comments this week, I read them and I thought they were spot on. He understands that this is a big agenda for him - he needs to do well here. At some other clubs, it hasn't gone so well and he is doing everything in his power to make it happen here, and that's good for us.
"He's had situations in France where his talent hasn't come to the fore as much as it should have, perhaps, and then he has had a terrible injury here.
"He knows this is a great opportunity at this football club. He probably feels that he could play for France, and I know the French Federation look at him very closely. Is he going to emerge because he has got the talent that he showed today? We are all hoping he does, of course."
Opposite number Steve Kean, whose side put the Magpies out of the Carling Cup in October, was disappointed not to have taken them back to Ewood Park.
He said: "We are disappointed we haven't got a replay. We played very well in the first half and I felt on our first-half performance, we merited one.
"First and foremost, we wanted to get through to the next round and I think everybody would see that in the way we played in the first half, and we are really disappointed we are not in the next round."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer