Vurnon Anita
Vurnon Anita challenges Samuel Eto\'o of Anzhi in the Europa League. [Reuters]

Newcastle United will be the favourites to make it through to the next round of the Europa League after securing an impressive draw in Moscow thanks to a superb defensive display against Anzhi Makhachkala.

It was a game of few chances as both sides struggled to create any meaningful opportunities, with Samuel Eto'o providing the sole effort in the first half.

The next moment of note came on the hour mark as Eto'o found a clean strike from the edge of the box that went through the defender's legs and produced a fine stop from goalkeeper Rob Elliott.

From the corner there was another effort, this time from Oleg Shatov who chested the ball down and volleyed towards goal but it went harmlessly wide.

Haten Ben Arfa then had a superb chance to open the scoring after lovely work from Gabriel Obertan and Moussa Sissoko , the French midfielder decided to lift the ball over the keeper but Vladimir Gaboulov stayed big and kept the effort out.

There was a late chance for Eto'o as he raced down the right channel but he was well tracked by Steven Taylor and his effort went tamely into the hands of Elliott.

It had been a first half to forget in Russia as both teams struggled to create any chances. It took until the 39th minute for Anzhi to have their first effort on the Newcastle goal as Eto'o tried his luck from all of 30 yards.

It was a fierce striker and Elliott was almost caught by surprise but managed to turn it over the bar. That was the only chance of the half as Newcastle defended resolutely, with Anzhi looking at their most dangerous when they caught the Premier League side on the counter attack.

Alan Pardew will have been particularly pleased with this display as Newcastle became the first team to deny Anzhi a home win in Europe this season.