Cisse helps Newcastle top Swansea
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Papiss Demba Cisse kept up his remarkable scoring record by grabbing both goals in Newcastle's 2-0 win over Swansea in the Premier League on Friday, maintaining his team's surprise charge for a Champions League place.
The Senegal striker put away top-quality finishes in the fifth and 69th minutes to score twice for the third successive match, lifting Newcastle above Chelsea into fifth place - just two points off Arsenal and Tottenham in the race for third.
It marked a fourth straight victory for Alan Pardew's side, which was tipped by many pundits to struggle after selling key players in the summer but is now threatening to qualify for Europe for next season.
Cisse, who joined Newcastle from German team Freiburg in January for a reported 10 million pounds (then $15.3 million), has now scored nine goals in his first eight games and is proving a worthy recipient of the club's hallowed No. 9 shirt worn by many of the team's former greats.
''He has fantastic pedigree,'' Pardew said of Cisse. ''He scored goals in the Bundesliga so it's not a mystery. He was a deserved man of the match today and we are lucky to have him.''
The 26-year-old Cisse spent most of the game tracking back to help out his overrun midfield as Newcastle was left chasing shadows for extended periods, with Swansea delivering a passing masterclass.
The Welsh team has carved out a reputation as one of the most graceful sides to watch in the Premier League, even in Europe, and enjoyed a remarkable 80 percent of the possession in the first half.
But it didn't have the cutting edge supplied by Cisse, who took the two chances he had with unforgiving finishes.
''We sacrificed possession but we were patient, and we knew if we got it back in certain areas, they could be vulnerable,'' Pardew said.
''It wasn't a brilliant performance but we have quality in the right areas.''
Cisse opened the scoring by running onto France midfielder Yohan Cabaye's perfectly weighted through-ball and stroking a low finish into the corner from just inside the area.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - the Premier League's player of the month for March after scoring five goals in his last five games - came closest to equalizing for Swansea, drawing two good saves out of Tim Krul and also shooting just wide.
But Swansea was finished off 21 minutes from time by Cisse, who clipped a curling effort over Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm from 10 yards after again being supplied by Cabaye.
Swansea stayed 11th in the standings after losing a third game in a row for the first time since being promoted.
''Newcastle have done very well this season, but I thought we totally outplayed them,'' Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers said. ''The only thing we couldn't do was put the ball in the net and the only difference was the quality.''