Sports

Atsu helps Newcastle to Premier League return

Atsu was on target in the 4-1 win

Newcastle United secured an immediate return to the Premier League with a convincing home victory over Preston.

Christian Atsu put the Magpies 2-1 up at half-time after Jordan Hugill had cancelled out an Ayoze Perez opener.

On a tense evening at St James’ Park, Newcastle nerves were settled when Preston’s Paul Gallagher was sent off for handling on the line and Matt Ritchie scored the resulting penalty.

Perez got his second from close range to send Newcastle up with Brighton.

Rafael Benitez’s side had taken only one point from their previous three matches, but their late-season wobble was not punished by their closest rivals.

Defeats for Reading and Huddersfield on Saturday left Newcastle needing one more win to guarantee a top-two finish.

Nerves were evident among the players and the crowd, which was in excess of 50,000, until Ritchie converted his spot-kick to stretch Newcastle’s advantage against 10-man Preston with 25 minutes to play.

The hosts took advantage of poor Preston defending for all four goals, with Perez netting twice from corners and Atsu finishing a counter-attack in first-half stoppage time after North End had lost possession in midfield.

More at BBC.com

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