Cisse debut goal clinches Newcastle win over Villa
NEWCASTLE, England (AP) -- Papiss Demba Cisse scored on his Newcastle debut to clinch a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday and keep his new team within striking distance of the Premier League's top four.
The Senegal forward, who cost around 10 million pounds ($16 million) last month, got a 71st-minute winner to ensure Newcastle ended the weekend fifth in the standings.
Jonas Gutierrez's left-wing cross was too high for Demba Ba, but it fell well for Cisse to control with his chest before dispatching a left-foot volley high to Shay Given's right.
"I didn't even think that it was a beautiful goal,'' Cisse said. "I was just happy to see the ball cross the line.''
International teammate Ba put Newcastle in front on the half-hour with his 16th goal of the season, but Robbie Keane leveled for Villa at the end of the first half - the Ireland striker's third goal of his loan spell from the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The opener came against the run of play. 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 striker thumped it past Given.
But as the celebrations broke out, the medics rushed on to the pitch to tend Taylor, who had been hurt in a collision with Stephen Warnock in the buildup and left the field on a stretcher with his right leg in a brace.
Charles N'Zogbia fired into the side-netting and Stephen Ireland curled an effort just wide as Villa continued their quest for an equalizer.
However, Ba, Davide Santon and Cisse might all have increased Newcastle's lead in a flurry of activity at the end of the half.
The game's second goal eventually went the way of the visitors in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Keane met N'Zogbia's cross unopposed in front of goal to volley home.
Villa manager Alex McLeish replaced Ireland with Barry Bannan at the break, but saw his side almost concede the lead for a second time within two minutes of the restart.
Given, who played for Newcastle over 11 years, uncharacteristically fumbled after Guthrie had crossed, but neither Ba nor Cisse were able to take advantage.
The game was becoming increasingly open with N'Zogbia for the visitors and Taylor's replacement, Gabriel Obertan, for the home side enjoying much space.
Cisse's first big chance arrived in the 62nd, but after Guthrie clipped the ball invitingly toward him, he could only lift his header over the bar. With around 20 minutes to go, though, he found the target to clinch the three points.