Thursday, June 17
Apr 28, 2017 at 7.45pm UK
CardiffCardiff City
NewcastleNewcastle United
FT(HT: 0-0)
Atsu (55'), Hayden (65')

Result: Newcastle United beat Cardiff City to keep title hopes alive

:Headline: Result: Newcastle United beat Cardiff City to keep title hopes alive: ID:297022: from db_amp
Newcastle United keep their Championship title hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City in South Wales.

Newcastle United have kept their Championship title hopes alive by beating Cardiff City 2-0 in South Wales this evening.

The Magpies knew that they needed to avoid defeat to prevent Brighton & Hove Albion from wrapping up the title before kicking a ball this weekend, and second-half strikes from Christian Atsu and Isaac Hayden ensured that the race will go on for at least another day.

The Magpies move to within one point of the Seagulls, but Brighton would clinch the Championship crown if they beat Bristol City at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Having achieved their primary goal of promotion with a 4-1 win over Preston North End on Monday, Newcastle made five changes to their starting lineup as the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey dropped out of the side.

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock also rang the changes with his side comfortable in mid-table, and after such an overhaul in personnel it was perhaps no surprise that the first half was a sluggish and uneventful affair.

Rob Elliot was called into action as early as the fourth minute when he made a routine stop to deny Aron Gunnarsson's low strike, but that was not a sign of things to come as both teams struggled to conjure up clear sights of goal.

The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net after 20 minutes when Sean Morrison planted his header past the keeper from a corner, but referee Graham Scott chalked off the goal due to a foul on Ciaran Clark.

Warnock was forced into an early change midway through the half after Kadeem Harris was on the end of a heavy challenge from Ayoze Perez, limping off to be replaced by Craig Noone.

Chance continued to be few and far between, so much so that an attempted cross from Hayden that was fumbled and then collected at the second attempt by Allan McGregor proved to be one of the more notable pieces of goalmouth action during the opening 45 minutes.

A tame header from Morrison was then comfortably gathered by Elliot before the only genuine sight of goal throughout the first half fell the way of DeAndre Yedlin, whose drilled low strike was just about smuggled wide by McGregor.

Chancel Mbemba then failed to connect properly with a half-chance from a corner moments later, while Joe Bennett drew another comfortable stop from Elliot with a long-range drive in first-half stoppage time.

The 0-0 scoreline was nothing more than the game deserved at the halfway stage, but it came to life after the interval and Cardiff could have taken the lead four minutes into the second half when Noone skewed an effort wide after being found unmarked at the back post.

It was Newcastle who got the game's opening goal 10 minutes after the restart, though, and it came in some style as Atsu produced a moment of quality the type of which had been sorely lacking from the game up until that point.

The winger won a free kick right on the edge of the box himself and then stepped up to take the kick, nonchalantly curling it over the wall and into the corner past a statuesque McGregor.

Atsu came close again shortly after the hour mark when he carried the ball from inside his own half into shooting range, but this time he fired an effort a few yards off target having again been allowed to shoot.

Cardiff failed to heed the warning of Newcastle's increasing number of long-range efforts, and they were punished for a second time just four minutes later when Hayden drilled a rasping strike into the corner from 25 yards.

That sparked a flurry of chances at either end as the match made up for lost time in terms of entertainment, but Cardiff missed the chance to drag themselves back into the contest when Bruno Ecuele Manga nodded narrowly over having beaten his man in the air.

Newcastle responded with two chances of their own in quick succession as first Atsu whipped another curling effort narrowly wide before Aleksandar Mitrovic latched on to a poor header from Morrison, only to be dispossessed by McGregor when looking to take the ball past the Cardiff keeper.

Cardiff immediately went back up the other end and again almost halved the deficit shortly afterwards, but this time Kenneth Zohore, who signed a new deal with the Bluebirds before kickoff, was unable to keep his header down.

The Magpies were soon back on the attack themselves and McGregor had to be alert to keep out a Mitrovic snapshot from inside the area before Noone squandered another glorious chance for the home side, getting his finish all wrong having again been left unmarked at the back post.

The end-to-end action soon abated with no further damage to the score, much to Newcastle's relief, and the visitors were able to see out the win that puts the pressure back on Brighton during tomorrow's fixtures.

Newcastle's win also means that they have amassed a club-record number of away points and wins this season, while it is their 10th consecutive league win against Cardiff - their longest ever run against a single team in league competition.

The Bluebirds, meanwhile, fall to just their second home league defeat of the year and miss the chance to climb into the top half of the Championship table.

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