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Newcastle on brink of Champions League after beating Brighton

Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimaraes (centre) celebrates after scoring against Brighton. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

Callum Wilson scored late on and then set up another goal as Newcastle won 4-1 at home to Brighton on Thursday to stay on course for Champions League qualification.

Victory left Newcastle third in the Premier League table and needing just one win from their remaining two league games this season, at home to Leicester on Monday and away to Chelsea, to secure a place among Europe’s elite.

Kieran Trippier’s dead-ball skills paved the way for Newcastle to go 2-0 up before half-time at St James’ Park, his crosses leading to an own-goal from Deniz Undav and a headed goal by Dan Burn.

Undav, however, pulled a goal back for Brighton early in the second half.

But with the Seagulls pushing for an equaliser, Wilson scored on the counter-attack a minute from full-time before setting up Bruno Guimaraes as the Magpies made it 4-1.

Defeat left Brighton in sixth position and still in contention for Europa League football next season. 

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe fielded the same starting XI that featured in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Leeds with injured duo Sean Longstaff and Jacob Murphy again missing from the squad.

By contrast, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi made four changes to the team which ran out for Sunday’s superb 3-0 win at Arsenal with Jan Paul van Hecke, Facundo Buonanotte, Undav and Danny Welbeck replacing Levi Colwill, Alexis Mac Allister, Julio Enciso and Evan Ferguson respectively.

Newcastle were the better side early on and their dominance was rewarded in the 23rd minute when Undav glanced a header into his own net as he tried to clear Trippier’s excellent inswinging corner.

And the northeast side doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time when Burn rose above the Brighton defence to head in from a Trippier free-kick.

Saudi-backed Newcastle had a chance to put the result beyond doubt five minutes after the break but Miguel Almiron’s shot from point-blank range was saved superbly by Jason Steele.  

Barely a minute later, south coast side Brighton were back in the game when Undav ran onto Billy Gilmour’s through-ball before beating England keeper Nick Pope.

Newcastle, however, had the final say with Wilson’s 18th league goal this season, the most by a Newcastle player since 2003/04 when Alan Shearer scored 22 goals, crowning a rapid counter-attack.

Wilson then turned provider, unselfishly squaring the ball for Bruno to spark joyous celebrations among Newcastle’s loyal and passionate fans.

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