Villa salvages 1-1 draw at Newcastle to boost EPL hopes

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              Aston Villa's Ahmed Elmohamady, second left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at St James' Park stadium in NewCastle, England, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. (Lee Smith/Pool via AP)
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NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Ahmed Elmohamady came off the bench to score an equalizer and give Aston Villa a 1-1 draw at Newcastle that boosts the visitors’ hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.

Newcastle looked to be heading for a second win in four days when Dwight Gayle, who had replaced Matt Ritchie just seconds earlier, put the hosts into a 68th-minute lead with his first goal for the club in more than two years.

But Elmohamady squeezed an 83rd-minute header past Martin Dubravka to salvage a point against a Newcastle side that struggled to replicate the form they showed in beating Sheffield United impressively this past weekend.

However, manager Steve Bruce’s double substitution gave Newcastle an immediate spark as he sent on Andy Carroll and Gayle.

Carroll was allowed to control a throw-in and squeeze it into the box, where Gayle held off a defender before firing into the net.

But Elmohamady leveled from fellow substitute Conor Hourihane’s corner to spark a late flurry that nearly saw the visitors come away with all three points.

Villa remained in 19th place but is level on points with West Ham in 17th.