Christian Atsu plays as Newcastle maintain Championship lead

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The Ghanaian came off the bench as the Magpies defeated Wigan Athletic to retain their position on top of the table ahead of Brighton and Hove Albion

Christian Atsu was a 63rd minute substitute as Newcastle United defeated Wigan Athletic 2-1 on Saturday to maintain their slim hold on top of the Championship as they chase a return to the Premier League right after dropping out at the end of last season.

The victory saw the Magpies remain a single point above challengers Brighton and Hove Albion on 78 points. Brighton defeated Blackburn Rovers 1-0.

Newcastle jumped into the lead through Dwight Gayle on 36 minutes from an assist by Senegal’s Mohamed Diame.

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Wigan equalized five minutes after half time through Michael Jacobs but Matt Ritchie ensured all points were saved for the hosts on 57 minutes.

Manager Rafa Benitez then brought on Atsu for his 26th game of the season to shore up the midfield, which they did to hold on for a win.

Atsu has made 10 starts all season under Benitez with 16 appearances coming from the bench. He has scored three goals for Newcastle during his loan spell from Chelsea. 

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