Swansea City 2 Newcastle United 0: Magic Montero dazzles again
Jefferson Montero put in another dazzling display as Swansea City cruised to a 2-0 Premier League victory over 10-man Newcastle United.
The Ecuador international gave Branislav Ivanovic the runaround as the Welsh club picked up a 2-2 draw at defending champions Chelsea last weekend, and he was at it again on Saturday.
After Bafetimbi Gomis gave Swansea a ninth-minute lead, the lively Montero drew two clumsy challenges from Daryl Janmaat that earned the full-back a pair of bookings and saw him dismissed four minutes before the break.
Montero then hit the post with his best chance to add his own name to the scoresheet but provided the assist as an Andre Ayew header made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second half.
Newcastle rarely threatened and Steve McClaren's decision to play without a recognised striker for much of the second period suggested damage limitation was a bigger priority than attempting to reel in the dominant hosts.
Jack Cork came in for the injured Ki Sung-yueng (hamstring) in the only change from either manager and it was Swansea who controlled the early stages, with Jonjo Shelvey trying his luck from the edge of the box after three minutes - Tim Krul comfortably collecting his effort with the outside of the boot.
Krul had to be alert again to keep out a curling Gylfi Sigurdsson strike four minutes later, but it was not long before the Dutch goalkeeper was picking the ball out of the back of the net.
In a slick attacking move, Shelvey shunned an obvious option out wide to cut inside and thread a delightful throughball into the path of Gomis, who - played onside by Janmaat - coolly rounded Krul and rolled the ball into an open goal.
Gomis has now scored seven goals in his last eight Premier League matches.
Having been totally outplayed in the build-up to the opener, Newcastle set about finding an equaliser, and Gabriel Obertan forced Lukasz Fabianski into a diving save with a low drive after 15 minutes.
After seeing Janmaat given his marching orders, Montero struck the base of the left-hand post with a curling effort from 20 yards and claimed his second victim when Moussa Sissoko pulled up injured while chasing the winger.
The French midfielder was replaced by Steven Taylor - making his first appearance since New Year's Day - as McClaren shuffled his pack for the second half, but Swansea continued to dominate and Sigurdsson saw an excellent curling effort bounce off the goalline via the crossbar.
Montero's early season form will give Swansea huge cause for optimism and it was his hanging cross from the left flank that led to the hosts' second, Ghana international Ayew climbing highest to power home a header.
McClaren had, by this point, hooked lone striker Papiss Cisse and replaced him with Rolando Aarons, further limiting Newcastle's goalscoring opportunities, and Swansea held on for a comfortable victory - Montero afforded a deserved standing ovation when he was replaced by Wayne Routledge after 75 minutes.