PAPISS Demba Cisse says his emotional celebration with Newcastle United fans was payback for their backing through a tough season.
The striker scored a dramatic winner in yesterday’s 1-0 win over Fulham at St James’s Park.
Cisse won’t score too many more important goals in his Newcastle career.
The result lifted the club five points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby.
Cisse’s deftly lifted a Yohan Cabaye shot over goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in the third minute of injury time.
And the 27-year-old leapt into the Gallowgate End to celebrate with supporters, his joy being captured by Twitter user @TaylorsFistpump in a stunning photograph.
United manager Alan Pardew – whose side face Benfica at St James’s Park on Thursday in the second leg of the club’s Europa League quarter-final – hugged fans behind the dugout.
“It was very good to celebrate the goal for the fans,” Cisse told the Gazette.
“It’s very, very important. The fans were behind us for the whole game – the whole 90 minutes – and they supported me and the team.
“It can be difficult, so when you score you should go to see the fans.”
Cisse has made a habit of scoring last-minute goals this season.
He added: “I think the gaffer liked the goal – he likes last-minute goals!
“It happened again to me, and to score in the last minute to help the team take three points is very important for the team. All the fans were happy and the players.”
Asked if it was his most important goal yet for Newcastle, Cisse said: “Yes, it was. The three points were very important.
“All week the gaffer has said how important the win was for the team, the fans and the club.
“All the players had on their mind was to try, try and try more.”
Cisse missed three good chances in the first half. He also struck the post and forced a save from Schwarzer after the break, when United attacked with more purpose.
“The start of the game was difficult for the team,” said Cisse.
“The second half was better because the team picked up and we stayed strong in the game. In the last minute, our luck changed.
“I scored again in the last minute and I’m happy.”
Cisse hit the woodwork twice in last week’s 3-1 defeat to Benfica, and the Senegal international admits he’s been replaying those efforts in his ahead over the past few days.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I don’t know if the post likes me or I like the post!
“But this week I have spent some time with it. This week I’ve shot against it enough times. Every time I’ve hit it, I’ve scored soon after, so that’s OK.
“The Benfica game has been in my head a bit.
“The second time I hit the post in Benfica, I was saying ‘go in, go in’, but it didn’t find its way there. It was difficult.
“The players were feeling a little bit tired after Benfica. It was a very difficult game again for us.
“That’s why the start of the game was tough, but the second half was much better.”