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Newcastle’s Atsu assist only good enough for FA Cup draw with Rochdale

1:06 AM MYT 05/01/2020
Christian Atsu Newcastle United 2019-20
The Ghanaian made a key contribution as the Magpies kicked off their second cup run of the season

Christian Atsu turned provider for Newcastle United as they played out a 1-1 draw with Rochdale in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon.

The Ghana international has not been a regular starter for the Magpies this season, coming off the bench 10 times out of 16 total appearances in the Premier League.

He was however given a rare start at left-back by coach Steve Bruce and made his name known in the 17th minute by making a dash on the left flank, and his cutback pass found Miguel Almiron, who did the rest in fine fashion. It is the former Chelsea man's fourth assist in all competitions this season, the most of any Newcastle player.

The Tyneside outfit was able to hold its' nerve until the 79th minute when Rochdale equalised through Aaron Wilbraham.

Atsu was on for the entire game and had a high 80 touches on the ball, 42 accurate passes (89%), four key passes, 10 crosses of which two were successful.

The 27-year old also had a successful dribble attempt of 10 from 10, accurately played four of six long balls and won 11 of 13 ground duels.

Newcastle will now have to face Rochdale in a replay at St James Park, but will next be in Premier League action away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on January 11.