Belfast Telegraph

Cisse thinking of Gutierrez

Papiss Cisse's mind was on team-mate Jonas Gutierrez as he came off the bench to drag Newcastle boss Alan Pardew out of the mire.

The 29-year-old Senegal international had not kicked a ball in anger since fracturing his kneecap in a 2-1 home defeat by Swansea on April 19 when he was thrown into the midst of a deepening crisis for Pardew with Hull leading 2-0 at St James' Park on Saturday.

By the time the final whistle sounded some 21 minutes later, he had claimed his first goal since March 22 and then added another to it to snatch a draw and spare his manager a fresh deluge of abuse.

However, while that might have been satisfaction enough for Cisse, it was Gutierrez and his ongoing battle with testicular cancer which was at the forefront of his thoughts.

Cisse, who revealed a t-shirt bearing the message "Always looking forward, Jonas" after each of his strikes, told nufcTV: "These goals are for Jonas because this man for me is a big man. I remember my first goal in England was down to him giving me a good cross and I scored.

"It's just for him because I believe in this man and the time we spent together in this team, he is a very, very nice person and a good person. I love that he smiles all the time and makes people happy.

"That's why today, I say: 'Jonas keep going. Life is not finished, it's just an obstacle and you need to keep going. Thank you for everything'."

While Cisse's efforts on the day will undoubtedly have been appreciated by Gutierrez back in Argentina, they were no more welcome on Tyneside on a day when Pardew's critics had attempted to rally the troops for an onslaught.

In the event, the protests were lukewarm and fleeting even at 2-0 with placards and banners demanding the manager's exit in evidence, but in relatively small numbers and infrequently.

Both Pardew and skipper Fabricio Coloccini had appealed to supporters to back the team in advance, and the vast majority did just that for much of the game.

Many would not have been aware at that point that owner Mike Ashley had let it be known privately that Pardew would be given the chance to turn things around and had urged patience.

That particular quality, however, appeared to have run dry when, despite turning in one of their most enterprising displays of the season to date, Newcastle found themselves staring down the barrel thanks to two strikes of supreme quality.

Midfielder Jack Colback was partially culpable as the visitors took a 49th-minute lead when his failure to clear allowed former Sunderland team-mate Ahmed Elmohamady to cross, but the volley with which Nikica Jelavic dispatched the ball past goalkeeper Tim Krul was breathtaking.

In truth, Holland international Krul had little to do for most of the afternoon, but he was beaten once again with 68 minutes gone when Mohamed Diame blasted a left-foot piledriver past him off the inside of the post from 22 yards.

Cisse had been standing on the sideline waiting to be introduced when his international team-mate struck, and he finally entered the fray with boos for his manager echoing around the stadium.

But within five minutes, he had dragged the Magpies back into it with a well-struck shot which beat Allan McGregor at his near post, and he saved the day three minutes from time with a close-range finish after Yoan Gouffran had headed Moussa Sissoko's cross back across goal.

Cisse said: "The first (Hull) goal, I was inside having a massage and when I came back, I said, 'What's happened?' and when they said 1-0, I said, 'No, come on'. For a minute, I didn't believe it was 1-0 and the (substitute) goalkeeper (Rob Elliot) said, 'I swear, I swear on my life it's 1-0'.

"After the second goal - my friend scored that one, Mohamed Diame, he's my captain in the national team - it was hard.

"But I had my chance to come on to the pitch and I was happy just to work hard and maybe score one goal, and thank you God, I scored two, so I am happy."

Tigers boss Steve Bruce was hugely disappointed to see his side pegged back when he felt they had victory within their grasp.

He said: "We're disappointed that we weren't able to see it through. We performed admirably and were probably good enough to win the match. But if you make mistakes at this level, you will get punished, and we certainly did on Saturday."

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