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Premier League

  • 5 February 2012
  • • 13:30
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Referee: M. Halsey
  • • Attendance: 48569

Newcastle 2-1 Aston Villa: Papiss Cisse scores winner on dream debut to move hosts back above Arsenal

Newcastle 2-1 Aston Villa: Papiss Cisse scores winner on dream debut to move hosts back above Arsenal

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Fantastic strike from Senegalese striker helps to push Toon Army up the table, but it's not all good news for the home side as Ryan Taylor and Leon Best are subbed with injuries

Newcastle leapfrogged Arsenal in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa thanks to goals from their Senegalese strike duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse either side of a Robbie Keane equaliser.

Ba opened the scoring in the 30th minute from close range before Keane's equaliser just before half-time. Cisse, however, found the winner in the 72nd minute with an absolutely stunning half-volley from the edge of the area to propel the Toon Army into fifth position in the league.

The hosts welcomed back fan favourite Ba to the starting lineup in place of Shola Ameobi, while new signing Cisse had to be content with a place on the bench.

The return of the Senegalese frontman was one of two changes made by Alan Pardew with James Perch also replacing Hatem Ben Arfa.

Villa, meanwhile, were unchanged from the side that drew against QPR in midweek, with three former Newcastle players in the starting XI, as Shay Given, Steven Ireland and Charles N'Zogbia lined up against their former employers.

After an initially quiet opening, the first real action came when Leon Best strode towards goal with the ball. His shot was well blocked by Stephen Warnock, but in the process Best jarred his knee joint and was unable to continue.

While the hosts were down to 10 men, Tim Krul was forced into his first action of the game when Keane expertly found Darren Bent inside the box. The in-form striker took a touch and shot, but his effort was well blocked by Krul.

Newcastle didn't fully clear, and Stilyan Petrov had a long range effort that the Dutch 'keeper snaffled up at the second attempt.

Then came a big moment for much of St. James' Park with the arrival of Cisse to a big ovation from the home faithful.

His first effort came moments later, directing a header towards Given's goal, but it was a comfortable save for the Irish goalkeeper.

Warnock looked to take a nasty knock to the face after he clashed heads with Ryan Taylor, but after receiving some treatment he was ok to continue.

Krul was soon called into action again, as he made another save from Bent following a good through ball from Richard Dunne.

But just before the half hour mark, the home side took the lead through a very likely source.

Villa failed to clear Danny Guthrie's cross and after Taylor's effort was charged down by Warnock, the ball fell to Demba Ba six yards out, who kept his cool and slotted the ball past Given with Dunne on the line.

It was to be the last involvement for Taylor, however, who had to leave the pitch on a stretcher following the challenege from Warnock. He was replaced by Gabriel Obertan, who had an immediate impact in defence, stopping a promising looking attack from Keane.

Villa were the next side to go close as Ireland hit a curling effort just wide of Krul's right post, before Cisse threatened twice more with his head, placing a header just wide before flicking one just over Given's bar.

But in the fifth minute of six added on to the first half, Keane found an equaliser for Villa. The Irishman found N'Zogbia, who went on a good surging run to the byline before crossing for the striker to find the net from close range and bring the opening half to a close.

Dream Debut | Cisse lashes home a stunning winner on his first appearance

The beginning of the secind half was an altogether more cagey affair, with Guthrie and Obertan both blazing shots wildly over.

The first real chance of the second half came to Cisse, whose free header was directed over from just outside the six-yard-box after Guthrie's cross.

Villa did begin to get into the second half as it wore on, but went behind in the 72nd minute thanks to an unbelievable drive from Cisse.

The Senegalese striker chested down a cross from Jonas Gutierrez, before drilling the ball high into the top corner with his left foot. There was a touch of fortune about the goal, a real swing and hope effort with his left foot, but it was unstoppable from the striker.

For Villa, it was a cruel time to concede, just as they had been threatening, but the defending of Gutierrez's cross was far from the best, and for the second time in a week they had conceded a goal to a Cisse on his debut, after Djibril's effort for QPR on Wednesday.

Villa were really threatening in the closing stages, with substitute Gary Gardener coming close, but his header was straight at Krul. The goalkeeper parried the effort into the air, but it dropped straight into his welcoming arms with Emile Heskey close to getting a touch on the ball.

Newcastle held strong, however, to grab a vital three points and maintain their surprise challenge for a top four place.

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