Newcastle United 2 Cardiff City 1: Atsu and Gouffran send club SIX points clear at top of league

Yoan Gouffran

Yoan Gouffran

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Newcastle United extended their lead at the top of the Championship this afternoon.

Rafa Benitez's side beat Cardiff City 2-1 at St James's Park thanks to goals from Christian Atsu and Yoan Gouffran.

It was an eighth successive win for Newcastle in all competitions.

And the hard-fought result saw the club stretch its lead over second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion – who take on Bristol City at Ashton Gate this evening – to six points.

READ MORE: Christian Atsu reveals his goal as he’s put on standby by Rafa Benitez at Newcastle

Loanee Atsu, handed a start in place of the suspended Matt Ritchie, gave United a perfect start.

Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey

Aleksandar Mitrovic, preferred up front to fit-again Dwight Gayle, unselfishly rolled the ball to Atsu in the third minute and the winger side-footed the ball past Ben Amos.

Atsu had been keen to make more of an impact in front of goal after twice hitting the woodwork in last week's 6-0 EFL Cup win over Preston North End.

Paul Dummett forced a near-post save from Amos in the 17th minute, but Newcastle had seemingly lost their way as the half-time break approached.

But Gouffran put United in a commanding position at the break with a 45th minute goal, his fourth of the season, set up by DeAndre Yedlin.

Atsu had a shot deflected over the bar early in the second half.

However, Benitez's players, wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day, couldn't fashion a third goal.

And Cardiff substitute Peter Whittingham set up a nervous finale with a low strike in the 77th minute.

Cardiff looked a different side in the last period, but Newcastle held firm to claim three more important Championship points ahead of the international break.

Gayle, meanwhile, didn't make it off the bench.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Newcastle team: Darlow; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Hayden; Atsu (Diame, 89), Perez, Gouffran (Anita, 72); Mitrovic. Subs not used: Sels, Hanley, Lazaar, Colback, Gayle.

CARDIFF CITY: Amos, Bennett, Morrison, Bamba, Ralls, Gunnarsson, Richardson (Whittingham, 75), Hoilett, Noone (Harris, 75), Lambert (Chamakh, 72). Subs not used: Wilson, Manga, Gounongbe, O'Keefe.

Goals: Atsu 3, Gouffran 45, Whittingham 77

Booking: Gunnarsson 85

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

Attendance: 51,257