Christian Atsu was in action for Newcastle United as they reclaimed top spot in the English Championship on Monday night following a hard-earned 2-0 win over Albert Adomah’s struggling Aston Villa.
The two Ghanaians were second-half substitutes for their clubs during the game at St James’ Park which strengthened Atsu’s hopes for a return to the English top-flight with the win.
Magpies coach Rafa Benitez blanked requests from the club’s fans to start Atsu in the game, bringing on the Ghanaian in the 89th minute for Yoan Gouffran.
Adomah was brought on the in the 71st minute as Aston Villa sought to turn the tide in their favour.
His arrival coincided with a modest improvement in the closing stages, if not enough to begin a comeback. Adomah attacked the flank more than Bjarnason whom he replaced.
A Gouffran strike and an Henri Lansbury own goal propelled Newcastle back to the top of the Championship and a step closer to an immediate return to the Premier League.
The Villans’ wait for a league win in 2017 continued as Yoan Gouffran’s seventh goal of the season three minutes before half-time was followed by a nightmare own goal from Henri Lansbury just before the hour.
Defeat for Villa, though, left them dangerously close to the relegation places — just six points above the bottom three.
Villa’s situation is precarious as their form has fallen away completely, accruing just two points from a possible 27 in their last nine games.
By Rahman Osman');