Robbie Keane scored his third goal since joining Aston Villa on a 6½-week loan from the Galaxy, but his volley at the finish of the first half wasn't enough in a 2-1 English Premier League loss at Newcastle United.
Keane completed a vibrant first half with an answer to Demba Ba's opener for Newcastle. The Irish striker, above the box, played the ball to Charles N'Zogbia on the left, then sped into the Magpies' box. He found a seam to the goalmouth for a simple finish, booting home the thigh-high return pass from N'Zogbia.
Keane, who has scored in three successive trips to Newcastle, again was the instigator of the Villans attack, which created plenty of first-half chances but failed to finish until Keane's equalizer. The hefty stoppage time was added after Ryan Taylor sustained a shin injury while battling to feed Ba's goal, requiring on-field attention before he was stretchered off and replaced.
Both of Newcastle's goals came from Senegalese forwards. Ba got his 30th-minute strike lead after Aston Villa failed to clear a cross off a throw-in, and Papiss Demba Cisse, just signed from Germany's SC Freiburg, volleyed home the winner -- a superb blast to the upper-left corner -- in the 71st.
Aston Villa had chances to go ahead in the first 15 minutes, both through Keane. The Galaxy star's diagonal ball in the 13th opened space on the left for Darren Bent, whose shot was knocked away by Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul. A minute later, Keane burst into the right channel on a give-and-go, but nobody followed and his pass into the middle went nowhere.
Aston Villa (6-8-10), which is 13th in the EPL, has won just once in Keane's five appearances, with the Irish forward's two goals delivering a 3-2 league victory two weeks ago over 17th-place Wolves.
Keane has two games remaining, next week at home against EPL leader Manchester City and Feb. 25 at last-place Wigan Athletic. He then joins Ireland's national team for a Euro 2012 prep Feb. 29 in Dublin against the Czech Republic before heading to L.A. in advance of the Galaxy's Feb. 7 opener at Toronto FC, a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg.
Newcastle (12-6-6) climbed to fifth -- that position wins a Europa Cup berth at season's end.
GAME BY GAME
Jan. 14 vs. Everton (T, 1-1)
81st-minute substitute for Warnock
Jan. 21 at Wolverhampton (W, 3-2)
Started, subbed in second-half stoppage, two goals (51st and 84th minutes)
Jan. 29 FA Cup fourth round at Arsenal (L, 2-3)
Started, 90 minutes, assist (Dunne)
Feb. 1 vs. Queens Park Rangers (T, 2-2)
Started, 90 minutes
Feb. 5 at Newcastle United (L, 1-2)
Started, 90 minutes, goal (50th minute, in first-half stoppage)
Feb. 12 vs. Manchester City
Feb. 25 at Wigan Athletic