English Premiership

Newcastle guarantee safety

2013-05-12 18:36
Hatem Ben Arfa (AFP)

London - Newcastle guaranteed their English Premier League survival on Sunday with a vital 2-1 win at already-relegated Queens Park Rangers.

With just one relegation slot still to be filled, Alan Pardew's side are now six points above the bottom three and cannot be caught by both Wigan and Aston Villa, who play each other on the final day of the season.

Newcastle fell behind to an early penalty from Loic Remy, the France striker Pardew had tried to sign in January, but were level soon afterwards via a spot-kick of their own, converted by Hatem Ben Arfa.

Yoan Gouffran capitalised on a terrible defensive error to put the visitors in front and Newcastle held on despite playing the final nine minutes a man down after goalkeeper Robert Elliot was sent off.

There was an early opportunity for the home side when Gouffran impeded Andros Townsend, but Bobby Zamora's free-kick cleared the crossbar without causing Elliot any alarm.

QPR were awarded a penalty when Junior Hoillett took on Mathieu Debuchy and went down on the left of the box.

Debuchy was adjudged to have tugged his opponent's shirt but it looked a harsh decision and Yohan Cabaye was booked for telling referee Lee Probert so.

Remy made no mistake from the spot, sending Elliot the wrong way to give QPR an 11th-minute lead.

Probert evened things up when he awarded Newcastle an equally debated spot-kick after Jose Bosingwa tugged Ben Arfa's shirt seven minutes later.

French midfielder Ben Arfa took the penalty himself, blasting high into the top corner to give goalkeeper Robert Green no chance.

Papiss Demba Cisse thought he had headed Newcastle in front with a thunderous back-post finish after Debuchy had picked him out but a raised flag for offside ruled it out.

Elliot was required to make a smart save to deny Hoillet and the goalkeeper had to punch away a corner shortly afterwards as QPR enjoyed a spell of pressure.

Bosingwa gifted Newcastle the lead in the 35th minute when his back pass was too short for Green and Jonas Gutierrez was able to half block the goalkeeper's attempted clearance, sending it straight to Gouffran, who lofted his shot into the net from long-range.

Bosingwa was hauled off at half time by QPR boss Harry Redknapp but Newcastle were forced into a change themselves within a few minutes of the restart, with Cheik Tiote replaced by James Perch.

Debuchy did well to nick the ball away from Bobby Zamora after Jermaine Jenas had delivered a cross from the right and Hoillett came close to an equaliser with a low shot that just eluded Elliot's right-hand post.

QPR needed Derry's clearance off the line to stop them falling further behind following a scramble in the six-yard box and Ben Arfa did well to set Gouffran up only for his resulting shot to miss the target.

Suddenly Newcastle were down to 10 men when goalkeeper Elliot, having previously been booked for kicking the ball away, handled outside his area - a decision he strongly disputed before being shown another yellow and the red that followed.

Veteran goalkeeper Stephen Harper replaced Ben Arfa for the final nine minutes, which saw the 10 men hold out to claim the points, although Townsend came close to an equaliser in stoppage time with a dipping drive that just cleared the crossbar.

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