4 for Wijnaldum as Newcastle crushes Norwich 6-2
NEWCASTLE, England (AP) Georginio Wijnaldum scored four goals as Newcastle recorded its first win of the Premier League season in style on Sunday, crushing Norwich 6-2 at St. James’ Park.
The Dutch international scored twice and Ayoze Perez added a third as Newcastle led 3-2 at the end of an action-packed first half, with Dieumerci Mbokani and Nathan Redmond replying for the visitors.
Wijnaldum followed up by scoring two more after the break, along with a 64th minute strike by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Steve McClaren’s Newcastle remains in the relegation zone, but moves from last place to 18th in the standings – two points behind promoted Bournemouth.
The win also sets them up perfectly for next weekend’s derby trip to fellow strugglers Sunderland.
Newcastle took a 14th-minute lead when, after a one-two between Moussa Sissoko and Mitrovic had not come off, the France international calmly shifted the ball before sliding it into the path of Wijnaldum, who finished efficiently.
The lead lasted just six minutes when Sissoko’s absence allowed Robbie Brady, who had earlier rattled a post from distance, to find Martin Olsson down the left and his inviting cross was touched home by Mbokani.
However, Wijnaldum struck once again to head Sissoko’s 26th-minute cross past goalkeeper John Ruddy, and when Perez beat Ruddy from close range after Olsson had blocked his initial effort, the Magpies looked to be well on their way with 12 minutes of the first half remaining.
But Norwich grabbed a second lifeline within seconds. Olsson was allowed time and space on the left to cross, and Redmond was similarly unchallenged as he volleyed home from beyond the far post.
As the former England coach talked to his players at the break, McClaren’s emotions will have been decidedly mixed after 45 minutes which had seen them play some wonderful, incisive football and also twice gift Norwich a way back into the game.
Norwich laid siege to the Newcastle goal during the opening stages of the second half, but the task became more difficult with 64 minutes gone.
Sissoko floated the ball into Mitrovic’s run and the Serbia international controlled with his chest before smashing a left-foot volley past the helpless Ruddy, whose afternoon took a further turn for the worse two minutes later.
Sissoko and Wijnaldum combined to allow Daryl Janmaat to cross and Wijnaldum timed his run to perfection to complete his hat trick with a close-range header. Although Redmond later struck the upright at the other end, the Dutch international’s 85th-minute shot was deflected into the top corner to round off a vital win for his team.