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Loic Remy turned in a sensational first-half display to fire Newcastle United to a 2-1 away victory over Cardiff City.
The French striker put his side ahead with a 20-yard shot on the half-hour, before doubling the lead with a side-footed finish after a David Marshall parry soon after. Cardiff clawed one back after the break through Peter Odemwingie, but could not make amends for a first half in which they were dominated by the visitors, who were able to boast a seventh consecutive win over their Welsh opponents – a record that stretches back to 1981.
The hosts were unchanged from the side who picked up a 2-1 victory at Fulham last weekend, meaning there was no place for former Newcastle man Craig Bellamy, while Alan Pardew made three changes from Monday night's 3-2 defeat by Everton.
Yohan Cabaye was reintroduced to the starting line-up alongside Mike Williamson and Papiss Cisse, with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Vurnon Anita and Hatem Ben Arfa dropped to the bench.
Fraizer Campbell put visiting goalkeeper Tim Krul under pressure in the opening minutes, but passed up the chance to capitalise on the Dutchman's run off his goal-line when he slipped at the crucial moment. But, as Newcastle began to settle into the game, Marshall showed lightning-quick reactions to deny Remy from close range before the striker’s effort was gratefully gathered by the Scot.
After half an hour, Remy found the net at the third attempt. The striker picked up the ball on the left wing, before bringing it inside and drilling a low strike beyond a fully stretched Marshall from 20 yards. The Queens Park Rangers loanee doubled his side's lead eight minutes later, reacting quickest to a parried Cisse effort to guide the ball into the bottom-right corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area for a fifth goal in his last three Barclays Premier League appearances.
The visitors could have been three up before the break, but Cabaye's 30-yard free-kick struck the bottom of the right post.
Malky McKay brought on last week's goal hero Jordon Mutch for the second half, and his presence in the Cardiff midfield proved the catalyst for an improved second-half display.
The hosts were able to pull one back just before the hour. Aron Gunnarsson showed good pace down the left, before finding Odemwingie in space in the area, and the striker waited for the perfect opportunity to send the ball beyond Krul.
Newcastle had a chance to restore their two-goal lead just moments later when Moussa Sissoko attempted to apply the finish to a promising counter-attacking move, but Marshall was on hand to deny the midfielder. Mutch had a late chance to pull the hosts level, but Krul got down well to smother, before claims of handball against Andrew Taylor at the other end were waved away by referee Kevin Friend as the hosts slipped to their second consecutive home defeat.
Cardiff manager Malky Mackay: "You cannot start the way we did and hope to come away with something. We nearly did from our second-half performance but we allowed them too much time and space in the first half.
"It was a shame as we were excellent in the second half and back to what we are. On another day with that amount of pressure and balls flashing across the goal we could have got something back and got a draw. Had the whole game gone like the first half it would have been a real downer going into the international break but the way we played in the second half shows we have got a bit of belief.
"Peter Odemwingie is a good, experienced and dangerous player. We have got to be careful getting him up to match fitness - but we are slowly getting him there. He is a top lad and top trainer and he will be fine. He took his goal really well and showed what he is."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "That first half was some performance and one of the best halves I have seen as Newcastle manager. It was a great win for our fans because we let them down on Monday. We've got a side that needs to get a grip of the game and when we do that. Some of the performances in the first half were truly outstanding with Yohan Cabaye in particular.
"Loic Remy's goals were sliderule stuff. He's enjoying himself - strikers when they feel comfortable in an environment have the confidence to score goals like that. We are one of those teams who need to keep on our toes. We know we can drop a couple of levels quite quickly but when we really hit a level like today, that was perhaps as good as we've seen and that's what we've got to replicate if we can."
|19 Apr 2014||v Stoke (H)|
|08 Mar 2014||v Fulham (H)|
|12 Apr 2014||v Southampton (A)|
|03 May 2014||v Newcastle (A)|
|15 Mar 2014||v Everton (A)|
|18 Jan 2014||v Man City (A)|