Newcastle win at Cardiff to keep title hopes alive

Isaac Hayden celebrates after scoring Newcastle's second goal,

Isaac Hayden’s second goal of the season sealed Newcastle United’s win at Cardiff City

Newcastle United kept intact their slim hopes of winning the Championship title with a comfortable victory at Cardiff.

Already promoted, the Magpies went ahead early in the second half with Christian Atsu’s delicate curling free-kick.

Isaac Hayden’s long-range strike sealed victory for the visitors, who are now one point behind leaders Brighton.

However, the Seagulls will be crowned champions with a game to spare if they beat Bristol City on Saturday.

Despite securing an instant return to the Premier League, Newcastle had endured a turbulent week following Wednesday’s off-field investigations by Revenue & Customs.

According to manager Rafael Benitez, however, it was “business as usual” on the football front, and his side were roared on by 4,000 travelling fans in a boisterous away end at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Cardiff City's Kadeem Harris is brought down by Ayoze Perez<!–

Newcastle’s victory saw them extend their winning run against Cardiff to 10 games.

They were briefly silenced when Bluebirds captain Sean Morrison thought he had headed the hosts in front from a corner, but referee Graham Scott deemed the centre-back to have fouled Ciaran Clark.

Chances were scarce in evenly contested first half but Newcastle seized control of the game in a one-sided second.

Atsu’s beautifully struck free-kick from the edge of the area got the party started for the away fans, who had further cause to celebrate 10 minutes later as Hayden was given too much time and space to score with a swerving shot from 20 yards.

Newcastle were in cruise control from that point, dominating possession and pinning Cardiff back into their own half.

The hosts had opportunities to claw themselves back into the contest but, with Bruno Ecuele Manga and Craig Noone wasteful in front of goal, the Bluebirds succumbed to only a second home league defeat of 2017, keeping them 13th in the Championship table.

Live Text

Match ends, Cardiff City 0, Newcastle United 2.

Second Half ends, Cardiff City 0, Newcastle United 2.

Attempt missed. Jamie Sterry (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jonjo Shelvey following a fast break.

Attempt blocked. Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sean Morrison.

Attempt blocked. Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Anthony Pilkington.

Foul by Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United).

Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Junior Hoilett.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Jamie Sterry replaces Ayoze Pérez.

Attempt missed. Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Aron Gunnarsson.

Attempt saved. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jonjo Shelvey.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Sean Morrison (Cardiff City).

Foul by Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United).

Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mohamed Diamé (Newcastle United).

Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Ayoze Pérez.

Jazz Richards (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Christian Atsu (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jazz Richards (Cardiff City).

Attempt missed. Craig Noone (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Kenneth Zohore.

Attempt blocked. Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ayoze Pérez with a through ball.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Jonjo Shelvey replaces Jack Colback.

Attempt missed. Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Joe Bennett with a cross.

Attempt missed. Christian Atsu (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Bruno Ecuele Manga (Cardiff City) header from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Craig Noone with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Robert Elliot.

Foul by Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United).

Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Christian Atsu.

Substitution, Newcastle United. Aleksandar Mitrovic replaces Daryl Murphy.

Goal! Cardiff City 0, Newcastle United 2. Isaac Hayden (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ayoze Pérez.

Substitution, Cardiff City. Anthony Pilkington replaces Peter Whittingham.

Substitution, Cardiff City. Joe Ralls replaces Greg Halford.

Offside, Cardiff City. Joe Bennett tries a through ball, but Kenneth Zohore is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Christian Atsu (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Paul Dummett.

Foul by Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United).

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