Newcastle 2-0 Huddersfield: Miguel Almiron makes full debut as hosts pull four clear of bottom three
Report and highlights as Newcastle make it three home league wins in a row
By Pete Hall at St James' Park
Last Updated: 23/02/19 9:59pm
Miguel Almiron impressed on his full debut as Newcastle pulled four points clear of the bottom three with a 2-0 win over 10-man Huddersfield at St James' Park.
Huddersfield captain Tommy Smith was given a straight red card for a dangerous lunge on Almiron with just 20 minutes on the clock and although the visitors held out until half-time, Salomon Rondon fired home his seventh league goal of the season to break the deadlock less than a minute after the re-start.
The striker then turned provider for Ayoze Perez to sweep in a second six minutes later. Newcastle could have added to their tally late on, but substitute Kenedy and Sean Longstaff were both denied by the woodwork.
Nonetheless, Newcastle picked up their third home league win in a row - their best such run since April last year - to pull away from the drop zone, while yet another defeat leaves Huddersfield 14 points from safety at the foot of the table.
Newcastle: Dubravka (7), Yedlin (7), Lejeune (7), Schar (6), Lascelles (7), Ritchie (7), Hayden (7), Longstaff (8), Almiron (8), Perez (7), Rondon (8)
Subs: Kenedy (6), Atsu (6), Joselu (N/A).
Huddersfield: Hamer (6), Smith (2), Jorgensen (5), Schindler (5), Kongolo (4), Bacuna (6), Hogg (5), Mooy (6), Depoitre (3), Kachunga (4), Puncheon (4).
Subs: Hadergjonaj (6), Mounie (6), Billing (6)
Man of the match: Miguel Almiron
Newcastle's January signing Almiron was in the thick of the action right from the off, clipping a nice cross into the path of Perez, but Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl was out sharply to gather.
Almiron really should have opened his account in the 12th minute, racing clear of the Huddersfield backline as Newcastle put together a sumptuous move, he elected to loft the ball over the advancing Lossl, only for the ball to come out off the post, the rebound fell for Rondon, who drilled against the same post and wide.
Rondon then had the chance to break the deadlock at the end of the first half, but he could not guide the header, after being brilliantly picked out by Longstaff, on target.
There was only one change to the Newcastle side that drew with Wolves last time out, but it is a big one, with record signing Miguel Almiron starting for the first time in black and white. Christian Atsu was the man to make way. Just the one change for Huddersfield, too, with Laurent Depoitre starting in place of Adam Diakhaby. Karlan Grant has to wait for his full debut.
The Huddersfield resistance was broken less than a minute into the second half, with Longstaff firing over the long pass, DeAndre Yedlin headed the ball back across goal, Isaac Hayden poked it into the path of Rondon who slammed the ball home.
Six minutes later it was two, with Rondon this time cushioning a pass through for Perez, who made up for earlier misses with a fine finish as it looked like Newcastle were going to run riot.
They failed to add to their tally however, with Kenedy's brilliant volley and a sublime Longstaff curling effort both coming out off the woodwork, but they saw out an easy victory at an canter.
Rafael Benitez: "We created a lot of chances - I think we hit the crossbar or the post four times. We needed to win, and we won well.
"It does not matter for me whether we pick up three points at home or away, but as we play Burnley next at home, hopefully we can carry our good home run."
Jan Siewert: "The red card broke us today. Before we had plenty of possession, plenty of chances, but the red card broke us. I have not seen it again, and will need to see it again to make an opinion.
"It was a diagonal ball [that led to opener], and it is very hard to defend a diagonal ball when you have one man less, because the opponent has more width. The ball landed in the box and they scored. It is not easy with one man less.
- Newcastle have done the league double over Huddersfield for the first time since 1964-65.
- Only two sides in Premier League history have picked up fewer points after their first 27 games of a season than Huddersfield in 18-19 (11); Derby in 07-08 (9) and Sunderland in 05-06 (10).
- Newcastle mustered 29 shots, their most in a Premier League game since attempting 32 against Swansea in November 2012.
- Huddersfield's Jan Siewert is the ninth manager to lose his opening four Premier League matches in charge, and the first since Frank de Boer with Crystal Palace at the start of last season.
- No side has picked up more red cards in the Premier League this season than Huddersfield (4, along with Everton and Leicester)
- Salomón Rondón has been directly involved in 46% of Newcastle's 24 Premier League goals this season (7 goals, 4 assists).
Man of the match - Miguel Almiron
The birth of a new Tyneside hero? Yes the opposition were somewhat substandard, but on debut, in front of 52,000 expectant Geordies, Almiron put in a fine display, and did everything but score. He created six chances for his team-mates throughout the match, two more than anyone else at St James', and worked tirelessly to keep Newcastle in the hunt for more goals.
Newcastle take on Burnley next, on Tuesday, while Huddersfield host Wolves.