Newcastle United eked out a narrow 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James’ Park to boost their top-four hopes.
Miguel Almiron’s late goal ensured the Magpies ended a worrying run of five league games without a win at the detriment of the struggling Wolves that proved difficult to overcome.
Wolves were happy to let Eddie Howe’s side control proceedings early on as they looked to counter whenever the chance presented itself, but the Magpies failed to create anything worthwhile.
For all their early dominance, they were lucky not to find themselves a goal down as Nick Pope somehow got away with a foul on Raul Jimenez in the 18-yard area, with VAR deciding no clear error had been made by the goalkeeper.
A fortuitous Newcastle then took advantage of their lucky escape by opening the scoring in the 26th minute through Alexander Isak, who rose highest to head Kieran Trippier’s free-kick into the far corner.
Bruno Guimaraes came close to doubling Newcastle’s lead when he clipped the bar before Daniel Podence responded by rattling the woodwork on the other end.
Looking for a response, Julen Lopetegui replaced Adama Traore with Pedro Neto at the start of the second period, and the Portuguese forward made himself a menace.
Neto’s introduction turned the momentum towards Wolves, as the substitute saw his fierce free-kick parried away before teeing up Joao Moutinho, who saw his shot saved by Pope.
Wolves were rewarded for their attacking endeavour in the 70th minute when Hwang Hee-chan passed into an empty net from close range following a howler from Trippier and Pope.
However, Newcastle regained their lead just seven minutes later when Joe Willock found second-half substitute Almiron who curled an effort into the far corner.
The Magpies weathered late pressure from Lopetegui’s side to see out an impressive win that now takes them above Liverpool into fifth place with a game in hand.
Almiron’s goal secured a first league win since mid-January for Howe’s side to keep their European dream alive. The Paraguayan has now taken his tally to 11 goals becoming Newcastle’s highest goalscorer this term.
The Magpies have moved to within four points of the Champions League places, while the faltering Wolves remain just three points clear of the relegation zone.
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