PAPISS Demba Cisse scored Newcastle United’s winner on his long-awaited debut for the club this afternoon, writes Miles Starforth.
Cisse’s second-half strike gave Alan Pardew’s side a hard-fought 2-1 win over Aston Villa at the Sports Direct Arena.
Robbe Keane had cancelled out Cisse’s fellow Senegalese striker Demba Ba’s 30th-minute opener on the stroke of half-time.
The result lifted Newcastle back into fifth in the Premier League and level on points with Chelsea in fourth ahead of their game against Manchester United later today.
However, the victory came at a cost, with Pardew – who had dropped Hatem Ben Arfa from his starting XI – losing Leon Best and Ryan Taylor to injury.
Cisse replaced Best in the 14th minute after the striker was hurt taking a shot at goal.
And Taylor was injured by a crude Stephen Warnock challenge in the build-up to Ba’s goal, his 16th of the season.
Keane levelled in first-half injury time after Charles N’Zogbia raced into the box and squared.
However, the afternoon belonged to Senegal pair Ba and Cisse on their return from the African Cup of Nations.
Cisse, signed from Freiburg for £9m last month, was found by Jonas Gutierrez on the edge of the box and he somehow squeezed the ball beyond Given and into the top left-hand corner to give United all three points.
Read Miles Starforth’s full match report, plus more photos and reaction, in tomorrow’s Sportmail.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; R Taylor (Obertan, 34), Perch, Guthrie, Gutierrez; Best (Cisse, 14), Ba (Shola Ameobi. 90). Subs not used: Elliot, Ferguson, Gosling, Ben Arfa.
ASTON VILLA: Given; Hutton, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock; Ireland (Bannan, 46), Petrov, Clark (Gardner, 84), N’Zogbia (Heskey, 67); Bent, Keane. Subs not used: Guzan, Weimann, Lichaj, Baker.
Goals: Ba 30, Keane 45, Cisse 71
Bookings: Simpson 38, Dunne 39, Bent 68
Referee: Mark Halsey (Bolton)
Attendance: 48,569 (1,300 Villa)