Newcastle United's Cheick Toite (R) challenges Wigan
Athletic's Ronnie Stam during their English Premier League
match in Newcastle, northern England. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis
Demba Ba helped injury-hit Newcastle United end a
sequence of four successive English Premier League defeats by
grabbing two goals in a 3-0 victory over 10-man Wigan Athletic.
The Senegal striker's double blast took his tally to 10
league goals this season, putting him level with joint top
scorers Robin van Persie of Manchester United, Luis Suarez of
Liverpool and Swansea City's Michu.
Ba put Newcastle in front with a crisply-struck penalty into
the bottom corner of the net after Wigan defender Maynor
Figueroa was sent off for bringing down Papiss Cisse just
inside the box in the 12th minute.
The home team made it 2-0 nine minutes later when Ba pounced
on the rebound to score from close range after goalkeeper Ali
Al Habsi could only parry a fierce 25-metre drive from full
back Davide Santon.
Substitute Gael Bigirimana added a third goal, his first for
the club, in the 71st minute when the Zimbabwean beat Al
Habsi with a curling left-foot shot from 20 metres.
"It's been a difficult time for the players and staff because
we've had so many injuries," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew
told Sky Sports.
"It was nice to get an early break tonight. I'm not a lover
of that rule," he said referring to the option referees have
of sending a player off for stopping a goal-scoring
opportunity, "but I did think it was a penalty".
Newcastle stayed 14th in the table with 17 points from 15
games, three points ahead of Wigan who are fifth from bottom.
"It became very difficult for us after 21 minutes, 2-0 down
and only 10 men on the pitch," said Wigan manager Roberto
"The sending-off was a big decision. For me the ball was
between the two players and Figueroa should have been allowed
to make a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge.
"To me the intention was to go for the ball. I thought it was
too much of a punishment and it was harsh," added Spaniard
At the other end of the table, Manchester United stretched
their lead to three points with a 4-3 victory at Reading on
Saturday and second-placed Manchester City were held to a 1-1
home draw by Everton.