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Football
Army still singing a merry little Toon
Newcastle continue to push for a Champions League place after Papiss Demba Cisse scores twice against West Brom.
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2012 18:35
Newcastle are flying in the English Premier League with help of in form striker Papiss Demba Cisse [GALLO/GETTY]

Papiss Demba Cisse scored twice as Newcastle delivered a first-half masterclass in a 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday that maintained their unlikely push for a finish in the Champions League places.

The Senegal striker finished off well-worked moves either side of a solo effort by French playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa, virtually securing victory for Newcastle by the 34th minute at The Hawthorns.

West Brom improved after the break, with substitute Shane Long reducing the deficit in the 52nd after a defensive mix-up, but Newcastle held on to move level on points with fifth-place Chelsea.

Tottenham are five points ahead in fourth but haven't won any of their last five matches, giving Newcastle belief they can qualify for either of the European competitions next season.

"We have to take every game as it comes but if we can keep this momentum up, we can do it,'' said Newcastle defender Mike Williamson.

Deadly strikeforce

Cisse has made an impressive start to his Newcastle career since joining from German side Freiburg in January, scoring five goals in six league matches and striking up a good partnership with Senegal teammate Demba Ba.

Ben Arfa is also showing glimpses of his best form after being given a run in the team behind the strikers, producing an individual display that proved too much for West Brom.

The former Lyon and Marseille forward provided the cross from which Cisse opened the scoring from close range in the sixth minute.

"To be on the same points as Chelsea is phenomenal really"

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew

The roles were reversed for the second, Cisse slipping in Ben Arfa on a counterattack before the Frenchman cut inside, beat his marker and rifled in a low shot into the corner.

Cisse then guided home powerful, left-footed finish from Ben Arfa's cut-back for 3-0.

Long's goal came after Williamson dallied as he attempted to deal with a long ball over the top, the center back ending up crumpled on the ground after colliding with goalkeeper Tim Krul to allow the Ireland striker to stroke home into an empty net.

Cisse ended up being carried off on a stretcher in the 79th, with Pardew revealing the striker had cramp.

Pardew's diagnosis was worse for Argentina defender Fabio Coloccini, who was substituted because of injury at halftime and could miss Newcastle's next three games.

"We had a good control of our passing today and our movement was terrific,'' Pardew said.

"To be on the same points as Chelsea is phenomenal really.''

Source:
AP
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