Cisse calm over last-gasp heroics
Published 23/03/2014 | 14:12
Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse is happy to continue his last-gasp heroics even if it leaves his team-mates no room for relaxation.
The 28-year-old Senegal international saw a series of chances go begging at St James' Park on Saturday before heading his side to a 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Crystal Palace with a 94th-minute winner.
It was Cisse's first goal since January 4 and just his second in the league this season, the previous one coming from the penalty spot in a 5-1 Boxing Day rout of Stoke.
However, its arrival could hardly have been any more timely as he wrote another chapter to a story which is becoming something of a theme.
Saturday's winner was the latest in a series Cisse has claimed during his time at the club with West Brom, Stoke, Anzhi Makhachkala and Fulham having previously succumbed in injury time on Tyneside at his hands.
Cisse said with a smile: "It's good, but the players say all the time, 'try to score quickly' and 'don't leave it until after 90 minutes to score because it's not good'.
"I try to score - I like to score quickly and we can relax, but my chance came after 90 minutes. It's okay."
With leading scorer Loic Remy sidelined by a calf problem which shows little sign of abating soon, Cisse and January loan signing Luuk de Jong have been charged with the task of scoring goas by manager Alan Pardew.
It may have taken rather longer than either would have hoped, but Pardew's faith - the 52-year-old watched the game via a video-link at the club's training ground as his stadium ban continued - was eventually rewarded in what was an at times frustrating contest.
Cisse passed up two good chances in last weekend's 1-0 defeat at lowly Fulham, but he looked far sharper this time around, forcing three good saves from goalkeeper Julian Speroni and powering a header just over the bar.
The visitors too had their chances with Yannick Bolasie grazing the crossbar seconds after Kagisho Dikgacoi had been denied by keeper Tim Krul one on one during a promising start to the second half.
The woodwork came to Palace's rescue in the second minute of stoppage time when Cheick Tiote's piledriver came back off the bar with Cisse unable to turn home Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa's cross from the resulting rebound.
But the chance to redeem himself arrived just seconds later when he got his head to substitute Hatem Ben Arfa's cross and guided it past the helpless Speroni.
Cisse said: "I am very, very happy to score because it's a long time. I am a striker and I know sometimes strikers have these moments and it's very, very hard.
"Now it's nine years have played in the big championships and I have a little bit of experience.
"In my head, I say all the time, 'go to training and work hard, and if you start the game or if you come on for 10 minutes or five minutes, you do your job and keep going all the time'.
"Maybe you have one day and this day, you start to score.
"I have a contract with the Newcastle team and I work hard. If they need me, I am ready.
"Like today, the striker (Remy) was injured and today the team needed me and I was here. I scored in the last minute and gave three points to the team."
Palace boss Tony Pulis was left questioning referee Lee Probert's decision not to award his side a free-kick for handball against Magpies defender Mike Williamson seconds before Newcastle launched their last, decisive attack, and the fact that he believed allotted time had elapsed before Cisse struck.
However, he was able to take positives from another spirited display.
Pulis said: "The performance the players have put in today (was good) - what we need, we need a break, we need one or two little things going for us.
"We missed a great chance at Sunderland in the last couple of minutes when Kagisho blasted one over the bar, and today we have got done in the 48th minute (of the second half), which was a minute and 30 seconds over time."