Newcastle United got back to winning ways via a first Premier League goal from Miguel Almiron.
The ex-Atlanta United man broke a 26-match scoreless streak with a second half goal as the Magpies beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
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Andy Carroll had the assist, as Newcastle rose ninth with 25 points.
Palace drops into 12th with 23 points.
Three things we learned
1. Almiron… finally: The Paraguayan regularly runs his shorts off for Newcastle, but his confidence has been so low. You wouldn’t have known it by the way he laced a side volley home for an 83rd minute winner. He had an exceptional day, passing at 93 percent while making four tackles, two interceptions, a blocked shot and a clearance.
What his first goal meant to Almiron 🖤 pic.twitter.com/koLuXCGzLj
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 21, 2019
2. Zaha neutralized: Javier Manquillo played one of the best matches of his life, the ex-Liverpool man tidy in dealing with Palace behemoth Wilfried Zaha. The oft-fouled Ivorian lost 15 of his 24 challenges, and was successful on just four of 12 dribbles.
3. Bruce takes another chance: The Magpies didn’t have Jetro Willems for the left side of a 5-3-2, and installed center back Florian Lejeune as a left back in a 4-4-2. So who played left mid? Bafflingly, it was Paul Dummett, but the Geordie big man fired in cross after cross. It was a surprise to everyone including Roy Hodgson. Kinda stunned that it worked, honestly.
Man of the Match: Manquillo is the tactician’s pick, but you can’t take the day away from the man they call Miggy.
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Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey put the first two shots on target, relatively easy work for Vicente Guaita. Florian Lejeune then zipped a shot from distance, saved by Guaita.
Palace had a single moment of danger, Wilfried Zaha forcing Martin Dubravka into a prone block and catch.
The Eagles were better to start the second half, with Dubravka charging out to stymy a James McArthur chance.
Patrick Van Aanholt nearly curled an Olimpico past Dubravka in the 66th minute, the match begging for excitement.
Dubravka made a terrific stop on Benteke when Jordan Ayew played him into the box.
Newcastle scored on perhaps its first true chance since halftime, as a long ball was knocked down by Andy Carroll and Almiron painted the side netting with his side volley.