PAPISS Cisse hopes a first start will follow a first goal for Newcastle United.
The Magpies new boy scored the winner against Aston Villa yesterday, the 26-year-old Senegal striker coming on as a first-half substitute and then thumping a 71st-minute volley past former Newcastle keeper Shay Given.
Cisse is hoping to start against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening, and is confident he can weigh in with more goals between now and the end of the season as the club challenges for a return to Europe.
“The aim from now is to keep working hard in training,” said Cisse.
“If I do that, I would like to think that I can get more goals like that. Firstly, I have to work hard and get to know my team-mates. The aim is to obviously add more goals to the team.”
Cisse, back from the African Cup of Nations, was named on the bench by manager Alan Pardew, but he was on the pitch in the 14th minute after Leon Best suffered a knee injury.
For his goal Cisse, signed from Freiburg for £9m last month, chested down a cross from Jonas Gutierrez before lashing an unstoppable shot past Given and into the top left-hand corner.
“I’m happy with my first goal,” he said. “On my first day, when I signed for the club, to score in my first game was one of my aims.”
Former Sunderland striker Darren Bent received a predictable hostile reception but might have silenced the boo boys with 13 minutes gone.
Robbie Keane’s pass put him in behind full-back Danny Simpson and Tim Krul did well to save from a tight angle before fielding Stiliyan Petrov’s well-struck follow-up less than comfortably.
Cisse tested Given with a flicked 16th-minute header, but it was the visitors who continued to enjoy the better of the half with Bent once again denied by Krul after being played in by central defender Richard Dunne.
However, the first goal eventually arrived, against the run of play, at the other end. Dunne got up well to head Danny Guthrie’s cross away from Demba Ba, but when Ryan Taylor smashed the ball back across goal, the former West Ham frontman thumped it past Given.
But as the celebrations broke out, the medics rushed on to the pitch to tend Taylor, who had been hurt in a collision with Warnock in the build-up and left the field on a stretcher with his right leg in a brace.
Charles N’Zogbia fired into the side-netting and Stephen Ireland curled an effort just wide as Villa continued their quest for an equaliser.
However, Ba, full-back Davide Santon and Cisse might all have increased Newcastle’s lead in a flurry of activity at the end of the half.
But the game’s second goal eventually went the way of the visitors in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Keane met N’Zogbia’s cross unopposed in front of goal to volley home.
Villa boss Alex McLeish replaced Ireland with Barry Bannan at the break, but saw his side almost concede the lead for a second time within two minutes of the restart.
Given uncharacteristically fumbled after Guthrie had crossed, but neither Ba nor Cisse were able to take advantage.
The game was becoming increasingly open with N’Zogbia for the visitors and Taylor’s replacement Gabriel Obertan for the home side enjoying acres of space.
Cisse’s first big chance arrived with 62 minutes gone and this time from the left when Guthrie clipped the ball invitingly towards him, but the striker could only lift his header over the bar.
Villa eventually responded and, as N’Zogbia made way for Emile Heskey, briefly relieved the pressure.
However, Newcastle regained their lead with 19 minutes remaining, and did so in style with Cisse’s debut strike.
James Perch drilled a long-range effort just wide and Given had to turn away another Cisse volley, but Krul managed to beat away Ciaran Clark’s missile before gratefully grasping substitute Gary Gardner’s point-blank header to preserve his side’s lead.
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Ryan Taylor (Obertan 33), Guthrie, Perch, Gutierrez, Ba (Shola Ameobi 90), Best (Cisse 14). Subs Not Used: Elliot, Ben Arfa, Gosling, Ferguson. Booked: Simpson. Goals: Ba 30, Cisse 71.
Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock, Ireland (Bannan 46), Petrov, Clark (Gardner 84), N’Zogbia (Heskey 66), Keane, Bent. Subs Not Used: Guzan, Weimann, Lichaj, Baker. Booked: Dunne, Bent. Goals: Keane 45.
Att: 48, 569 Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).