Apr 27, 2014, 8:55 AM EST
Gus Poyet’s Sunderland revival looks to be nearing completion.
With a massive 3-0 win over fellow relegation candidates Cardiff City, the home fans at the Stadium of Light have seen their team take control of its own destiny in the fight for Premier League survival.
Connor Wickham opened the scoring for the home side with a header just before the half-hour mark, with a controversial penalty and straight red just before halftime dooming Cardiff City.
Both sides started very cautiously, as nervy would be the best way to describe the opening half-hour.
As the clock neared the half-hour mark, however, Sunderland took the best chance thus far and put it in the back of the net. A corner bounced on its way to the far post, and Wickham was there to nudge Kevin Theophile-Catherine out of the way, getting a head to the ball and sending it back across the face of the goal.
Wickham’s header snuck over the head of Peter Wittingham covering the near post, and the ball nestled into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
Sunderland nearly went two-up less than 10 minutes later when Jack Colback looked to finish a quick break off a long ball but he slashed it just wide right.
Just before the halftime whistle, a major mistake by Cardiff defender Juan Cala put Sunderland well and truly ahead. He was dispossessed as the last man back by Connor Wickham, and he in turn held back Wickham, earning himself a red card.
The sending off could not be disputed, but referee Phil Dowd also awarded a penalty for the foul despite a long attempt to play advantage.
Replays showed the foul took place well outside the box, but Fabio Borini was strong from the spot for a 2-0 lead on the stroke of halftime.
FIFA rules do state if a last-man foul continues into the box, which it appeared to do, then a penalty should be awarded.
In addition, Dowd waited a full eight seconds before blowing his whistle to end the attempt at playing advantage. Premier League rules state the referee can wait “a few seconds” before deciding to pull back advantage.
The second half was all Sunderland, with John O’Shea coming close to a third for Sunderland, as a brilliant ball from Johnson curled into the box for the defender but even a sublime first touch from O’Shea couldn’t keep it from Theophile-Catherine.
Cardiff offered little, and they were saved from conceding a third by David Marshall in the 72nd minute. The ball bounced around and fell to Colback on the left edge of the box, and he cut across to Borini who slid in for the finish, but Marshall was equal to the task.
The third did finally come in the 76th minute, as substitute Emmanuel Giaccherini put away a perfect through ball from Borini and Sunderland were officially out of the relegation zone.
Wickham picked up a second for his brace in exactly the same fashion as his first, beating Theophile-Catherine off a corner to head the ball into the back of the net.
Kenwyne Jones looked to head in a consolation prize for the visitors, but it went over, and it looks as if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attempt to rescue Cardiff City from a host of off the field issues could be for naught.
Sunderland are now in 17th position, even on points with Norwich City but ahead on goal difference with a game in hand. Cardiff are now bottom of the table with 30 points, joined by Norwich and also Fulham, who failed to keep pace with Sunderland by dropping a 2-goal lead to Hull City.
The relegation battle remains heated, with the four clubs just two full points apart, but Vincent Tan’s decision to sack Malky Mackay looks more and more calamitous as they continue to spiral out of control.
Sunderland – Mannone; Vergini, Alonso, O’Shea, Brown; Cattermole, Larsson (Giaccherini 73′), Colback (Bridcutt 84′), Johnson (Gardner 84′); Borini, Wickham.
Goals: Wickham 26′, 86′; Borini 45′+1 (pen); Giaccherini 76′
Cardiff City – Marshall; Theophile, Caulker, Cala, Fabio (Jones 64′); Cowie (Zaha 46′), Medel, Whittingham, Dæhli; Mutch, Campbell (Bellamy 74′).
Discipline: Cala (straight red) 45′+1
Nov 22, 2014, 11:59 PM EST
On Sunday, AC Milan will play host to rivals Inter Milan in “derby della Madonnina”, and Roberto Mancini is back.
Premier League Saturday highlights: Manchester United skirts by Arsenal, Newcastle gets fifth straight win
Nov 22, 2014, 10:41 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 9:47 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 7:56 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 7:12 PM EST
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho apologized to supporters for criticizing the stadium atmosphere, while praising his team’s play in a 2-0 blanking of West Brom.
Nov 22, 2014, 6:45 PM EST
Rooney: “We weathered the storm” in 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
His squad controlling possession and gathering a fair amount of chances on goal, Arsene Wenger believes his side deserved a better result against Manchester United.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:03 PM EST
One game is a rematch of the 3-3 draw that left Luis Suarez in tears, but both Palace and Liverpool have much bigger things to worry about.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
All the action from the PL’s seven games on Saturday.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
Elsewhere, USMNT defenders Timmy Chandler (right) and John Anthony Brooks picked up wins in 90 minutes each for their clubs.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:25 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 3:38 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 3:35 PM EST
Irvine: “We actually went a goal down to a goal which I thought was offside and that makes life very difficult here.”
Nov 22, 2014, 3:32 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 2:51 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 2:34 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 2:28 PM EST
A testy affair that could’ve gotten Jack Wilshere a red card instead got him injured, and Arsenal had no finish at the Emirates.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
Klopp has been at Dortmund since 2008 when he arrived from Mainz, and would likely have his choice of jobs should Dortmund let him walk.
Nov 22, 2014, 12:14 PM EST
Foxes and Black Cats cancel each other out at the King Power.
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