For an hour it looked as if it wasn’t going to happen for Manchester City.
But a clever tactical substitution saw Yaya Toure move into a more forward role — and it was his two goals that sank Newcastle to leave bitter rivals Manchester United needing a miracle in the Premier League title race.
Victory over Queen’s Park Rangers at the Etihad next Sunday will see City end a 44-year wait to secure a top-flight crown.
They are level on points with United, who defeated Swansea 2-0 yesterday — but their superior goal difference will be impossible to overhaul with just one game left.
“It’s not finished because we have one more match and we have to be careful as QPR are fighting to stay in the Premier League,” said Toure.
“We have to continue to work hard and believe.”
He added: “The manager told me to deliver today because it was an important game.”
City boss Roberto Mancini said: “Today was difficult. Newcastle are a good team but I think we deserved to win. I will only feel confident however after QPR.”
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson conceded that City “have both hands” on the trophy, but said his team would still go to Sunderland next week with hope in their hearts.
“We have to win the game up there and hope QPR get something from the Etihad,” he said.
“Their manager Mark Hughes is a United legend and maybe he’ll inspire them, although I’d be happier if he was 20 years younger and playing for them.”
QPR beat Stoke yesterday but need a point from the City game to be absolutely sure of avoiding relegation.