LONDON – Newcastle United’s Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum scored four times as the club won its first Premier League match this season at the ninth attempt by thrashing Norwich City 6-2 to climb off the bottom of the table on Sunday.
Newcastle scored more goals in 90 minutes at St. James’ Park than it had managed in its previous four league matches with Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic also finding the net and the victory could not have come at a better time.
It was the perfect answer to the club’s 6-1 defeat at Manchester City in its last match and sets it up perfectly for next week’s derby at arch-rival Sunderland, which is now bottom and the only Premier League team without a win.
The victory lifted Newcastle to six points and 18th place, leaving Aston Villa (four points) and Sunderland (three) below it in the relegation zone. Norwich, promoted last season, slipped one place to 16th on nine points.
“We needed it. We have had a few games when we have played good, but not got the points or only one point,” Wijnaldum told Sky Sports.
He became the first Newcastle player to score more than three goals in a match since Alan Shearer grabbed five against Sheffield Wednesday in 1999. “I’ve done it before for Feyenoord against FC Groningen,” he said with a smile.
United manager Steve McClaren, who insisted before the game that Newcastle’s season was going to “start today,” said he was relieved the win had finally come.
“We have had to be patient, but I am pleased for the supporters and the players, it’s been tough, it’s been hard. They deserved that. I am very proud of them,” he said.
Hannover gets lucky
Leon Andreasen scored with his arm to give Hannover a controversial 1-0 win at Cologne in the Bundesliga, denying the home side the chance to go fourth on Sunday.
Cologne had the better of the first half but the visitors went ahead in the 38th when Andreasen knocked the ball in with his right arm after a corner. The goal was given despite the home side’s protests.
“It’s annoying,” Cologne general manager Joerg Schmadtke said. “If 48,700 people can see it, the four match officials have to see it too.”
Andreasen ran over to his coach Michael Frontzeck after scoring and the two spent a short while in close conversation before the Danish midfielder ran back to his position.
Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn was incensed.
“I expected a clear whistle from the referee,” Horn said. “We were robbed of a point by an irregular goal. There’s no doubt about it.”
Beckenbauer hits back
Franz Beckenbauer, who headed the organizing committee for the 2006 World Cup, on Sunday rejected claims that a slush fund had been set up to buy votes and bring the tournament to Germany back in 2000.
“I never gave money to anyone in order to acquire votes so that Germany is awarded the 2006 World Cup,” Beckenbauer, a former World Cup-winning player and coach, said in a statement. “And I am certain that no other member of the bid committee did something like that.”
Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday that an alleged slush fund had been set up with €6.7 million loaned by the late Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus for Germany’s World Cup bid committee to pay bribes to FIFA officials in order to help land the tournament for Germany during a vote in 2000.