Miguel Almiron wows crowd on debut as Newcastle United beat 10-man Huddersfield Town
Miguel Almiron was the inspiration behind Newcastle United's 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town this afternoon.
Goals from Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez saw the club climb up to 14th place in the Premier League.
However, the star of the show against 10-man Huddersfield – who had Tommy Smith sent off – was Almiron, signed from Atlanta United last month in a club-record deal.
Almiron – who struck the post with a deft chip early in the game – did everything but score on his full debut for United.
The midfielder had been welcomed on to the pitch by a huge Wor Flags banner which translated as "we are counting on you".
The 24-year-old wasn't involved in the opening exchanges, but he almost made his mark in the 13th minute.
United worked the ball from defence into attack with some one-touch football, and Isaac Hayden set Almiron away on goal.
Almiron attempted to chip the advancing Jonas Lossl, but his shot struck the post. A follow-up effort from Rondon also hit the woodwork.
Smith was sent off for a reckless lunge at Almiron in the 21st minute, but United, playing against 10 men at St James's Park for the first time in a league game since April 2017, couldn't take advantage before the interval.
Lossl let a shot from Almiron slip through his hands at the half-hour mark, but Chris Lowe cleared it off the line.
Sean Longstaff, making his ninth successive start, had a shot blocked late in the half, while Perez forced a save from Lossl.
The best chance of the half fell to Rondon, who headed wide from a superb right-wing cross from Longstaff.
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Newcastle's players left the field at the break wondering how they were not at least 1-0 up. However, they made amends 59 seconds into the second half thanks to Rondon, who beat Lossl from eight yards.
Perez netted a second goal in the 52nd minute from a Rondon flick inside the area.
Rafa Benitez replaced Matt Ritchie with Kenedy for the last 22 minutes, and the midfielder forced a stunning save with a fierce volley.
Almiron also tested Lossl, while Longstaff, outstanding in midfield, struck the woodwork from outside the box.
Benitez sent on Atsu for the final nine minutes, and Almiron left the field to a standing ovation, having given fans a tantalising glimpse of his talents.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie (Kenedy, 68); Perez, Hayden, Longstaff, Almiron (Atsu, 81); Rondon (Joselu, 84). Subs not used: Woodman, Dummett, Ki, Manquillo.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: Lossl, Smith, Hogg, Bacuna (Billing, 69), Kachunga, Mooy, Lowe, Depoitre (Mounie, 76), Jorgensen, Schindler, Puncheon (Haderjonaj, 24). Subs not used: Hamer, Kongolo, Grant, Stankovic.
Goals: Rondon 47, Perez 52
Bookings: Yedlin 27, Ritchie 57
Sent off: Smith 21
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)