Belfast Telegraph

Cisse fires home Newcastle winner

Papiss Demba Cisse paid off the first instalment of his transfer fee as he fired Newcastle to a 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Aston Villa.

The Senegal international, who cost the Magpies around £10million, marked his debut with a superb 71st-minute strike to ease the Magpies back into fifth place in the table.

Cisse, who was introduced as an early replacement for the injured Leon Best, saw international team-mate Demba Ba fire the home side into a 30th-minute lead and, after Darren Bent had twice been denied by keeper Tim Krul, Robbie Keane levelled deep into first-half stoppage time.

Bent might have put Villa one up within 13 minutes. Keane's pass put him in behind full-back Danny Simpson and Krul did well to save from a tight angle.

Cisse tested Shay Given with a flicked 16th-minute header, but it was the visitors who continued to enjoy the better of the half with Bent once again denied by Krul. However, the first goal eventually arrived, against the run of play, at the other end, and the identity of the scorer was no surprise.

Richard Dunne got up well to head Danny Guthrie's cross away from Ba, but when Ryan Taylor smashed the ball back across goal, the former West Ham frontman thumped it past Given to claim his 16th goal of the season.

The visitors battled hard for an equaliser, and it came in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Keane met Charles N'Zogbia's cross unopposed to volley home.

The game become increasingly open after half-time. Cisse's first big chance arrived with 62 minutes gone, but the striker could only lift his header over the bar. However, Newcastle regained their lead with 19 minutes remaining.

Jonas Gutierrez's cross fell nicely for Cisse to control with his chest before dispatching a left-foot volley high to Given's right.

In he dying stages, Krul managed to beat away Ciaran Clark's missile before gratefully grasping substitute Gary Gardner's point-blank header to preserve his side's lead.

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