Barclays Premier League
Carrow Road, Norwich, England
41′ Borini (P)
Sunderland defeated Norwich City 3-0 at Carrow Road to close the gap on the Canaries to a point and give them a glimmer of hope in this season’s relegation battle.
Second-half goals from Jermain Defoe and substitute Duncan Watmore added to Fabio Borini’s first-half spot-kick after he was caught by Andre Wisdom four minutes before the break.
The hosts initially started the game well and went close when Robbie Brady tested Vito Mannone with a first-time strike in the fifth minute.
Twelve minutes later the visitors went close when a Borini cross-come-shot just evaded Defoe to go wide.
Eight minutes later the hosts very nearly took the lead when a dangerous Brady cross was almost put into his own net by Younès Kaboul, but Mannone made a brilliant instinctive save to prevent the Canaries going ahead. From the resulting corner Mannone was called into action again as Martin Olsson’s fantastic volley from-range was tipped over by the Italian keeper.
In the 34th minute the visitors had a good chance to take the lead when Borini found Lee Cattermole with a cross, but Sunderland’s skipper skied his effort as he lose his footing.
Five minutes later the visitors were awarded a penalty after Borini was fouled wrecklessly by Wisdom, who despite getting a touch on the ball, caught the Italian with the follow-through, and Andre Marriner pointed to the spot, much to surprise of the Norwich faithful.
From the resulting penalty Borini stepped up to fire the Black Cats ahead despite John Ruddy guessing the right-way.
After the break the hosts were in the ascendancy and very nearly got the equaliser. Half-time substitute Nathan Redmond got forward before unleashing a strike that had Mannone beaten for the first-time, but the woodwork came to Sunderland’s rescue.
Three minutes later they went close again. Sébastien Bassong tried an audacious effort from-range that just cleared the bar.
A minute later Bassong was at fault and Sunderland capitalised to double their lead. The centre-back delayed his clearance and Jan Kirchhoff nipped in to win possession before finding Borini who squared a lovely cross into the path of Defoe who slotted home on the slide. The hosts felt hard-done-by as Bassong was actually caught by Kirchhoff but Marriner allowed play to go on and the visitors took full advantage.
Seven minutes later the hosts were incensed that they should have had a penalty when Dieumerci Mbokani was hauled down by Kaboul who had a hold of the Canaries’ striker’s shirt, however Marriner was unmoved.
Three minutes later the hosts had a good chance when Mbokani was found in space. The forward looked set to pull a goal back for the hosts but Lamine Koné made a fantastic block to deny the Norwich man before Cattermole cleared the loose ball of the line.
Cattermole was in the thick of it and was called into action two minutes later on two separate occasions, first from an Mbokani header which he cleared off the line before clearing a goalbound volley off the line from substitute Wes Hoolahan following a freekick. The resulting corner nearly led to the visitors’ third, which possibly could have sealed the victory. Substitute Watmore was found by Mannone and the youngster had Defoe in support but he delayed his pass before Defoe was eventually caught offside.
Twelve minutes later Defoe found Watmore who looked to set to seal the victory when he rounded Ruddy, but the ball ricocheted off his trailing foot and the ball went out for a goalkick.
Three minutes later the hosts went close when Redmond forced Mannone into another good save with the Italian tipping the England Under-21 winger’s effort around the post.
The hosts had chances to pull a goal back with substitute Cameron Jerome and Gary O’Neil going close but it just wasn’t Norwich’s day and matters got worse when the visitors added a third in injury-time. Patrick Van Aanholt let Sebastian Larsson’s pass run into the path of Watmore who took the ball wide before slotting home from a tight-angle despite Ruddy getting a hand to it.
That was the last action of the match as referee Andre Marriner brought the match to an end. The result meant that Norwich remained in 17th on 31 points, whilst Sunderland remained in 18th, a point behind the Canaries with a game in hand.