Cape Town - Robert Kenedy scored a brace and Matt Ritchie added a third as Newcastle United breezed past Southampton. Rafa Benitez’s men moved to 12th as they put some daylight between themselves and the Saints who are just a single place above the relegation zone.
The home team took just two minutes to take the lead. Jonjo Shelvey’s looping ball into the18-yard area was well controlled by Kenedy on the turn and the Brazilian’s scuffed effort found its way past Alex McCarthy in the Saints goal.
The visitor’s only attempt of the half came from Cedric Soares in the 27th minute. The right back’s long range effort went just wide of the upright after the ball fell to the Portuguese from a poor defensive clearance by Jamaal Lascelles.
A minute later, the Magpies doubled their lead. Ayoze Perez led a swift break away from a Saints corner before he split the defence to find Dwight Gayle who had made a 50 yard run to keep up with the play. In what was a well worked goal, Gayle squared the ball to Kenedy, who tapped home from close range.
Five minutes into the second half Newcastle could have had a third. A Ritchie corner from the left was turned towards goal by a Perez header that flew just over the bar.
In the 57th minute Newcastle made it three. Shelvey got his second assist of the game as he laid the ball on a plate for Ritchie on the edge of the box. The Scottish international placed a left-footed shot low into the bottom right corner.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s side’s first attempt on goal came on the hour mark. Substitute Shane Long found Guido Carrilo with a cross from the right only for the Argentine to shoot straight at Martin Dubravka.
Southampton rallied to get back into the game but with the wind in their sails, Newcastle controlled possession to see out the game with their clean sheet intact.