NINE MAN Sunderland followed up their derby triumph with a stellar display of self harm after an own goal and two first half injury time red cards saw them succumb at Hull City.
Ex-Sunderland boss Steve Bruce gained revenge over his former club at the KC Stadium, to immediately stifly any hopes of a revival after the Black Cats’ win over Newcastle United.
A Carlos Cuellar own goal midway through the first half provided the only goal of the game after a tepid opening from Gus Poyet’s side.
But the game changed in first half stoppage time when Lee Cattermole and then Andrea Dossena were both shown straight red cards by referee Andre Marriner.
To their credit, Sunderland refused to throw in the towel after the break and could have even nicked a point when Adam Johnson had a one-on-one opportunity, but saw his shot blocked by ex-Newcastle keeper Steve Harper.
Fabio Borini was rewarded for his derby winner with only a second start for the Black Cats, with the Italian replacing Adam Johnson on the left.
Borini was the only change to the starting line-up, although there was a place on the bench for Wes Brown, who replaced Valentin Roberge among the substitutes.
Hull suffered a blow during the warm-up with Sone Aluko, who had been an injury doubt before the game, ruled out.
Former Sunderland midfielder David Meyler took his place in the starting line-up and was one of three ex-Black Cats in the Hull side, along with Ahmed Elmohamady and Paul McShane.
After a tepid opening, Hull went desperately close to breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute after Phil Bardsley was penalised for a high boot on Maynor Figueroa on the left-hand side of the area.
Tom Huddlestone whipped in a dangerous inswinger which glanced off the head of Curtis Davies, inches wide of the far post.
The Tigers did go ahead in the 25th minute after John O’Shea didn’t get a shout from his team-mates and headed Huddlestone’s harmless free-kick out for a throw-in next to the corner flag.
Liam Rosenior crossed low from the right and Carlos Cuellar, under pressure from Yannick Sagbo, glanced the ball beyond Keiren Westwood into the far corner.
Sunderland were forced into a goalkeeping change two minutes before the interval after Westwood suffered a heavy collision with Paul McShane to George Boyd’s inswinging free-kick.
Westwood had a sustained period of treatment and tried to continue, but eventually ex-Hull loanee Vito Mannone was introduced for his Black Cats Premier League bow.
Hull went desperately close to a second in the 45th minute after Lee Cattermole was caught in possession on halfway.
Jake Livermore found Sagbo on the edge of the area whose right-footed shot was deflected off Phil Bardsley inches wide of the post.
In the second minute of first half stoppage time, Sunderland’s afternoon got worse when Cattermole was handed a straight red for an out-of-control lunge on Elmohamady.
And then in the sixth minute of injury time, Sunderland were reduced to nine men when Andrea Dossena produced an even worse challenge - a studs-up stamp down the ankle of Meyler.
HALF-TIME Hull 1 Sunderland 0
Sunderland made a double change at the break with Johnson and Brown - making his first competitive appearance since January 2012 - replacing Jozy Altidore and Borini.
Boyd fired just wide of the far post in the 54th minute when he bundled the ball past Cuellar down the left-hand side of the area and fired a low shot across goal.
Five minutes later, Mannone produced a decent save when he dived full-length to his left to gather Livermore’s effort from 25 yards.
Sunderland went close to a dramatic leveller in the 77th minute when Curtis Davies’ clearing header landed at the feet of Seb Larsson and the Swede lashed a right-footed shot a couple of yards wide.
Two minutes later, Johnson had a golden opportunity to equalise after Mannone’s clearance bounced over the top of the Hull back-line.
Johnson had just Steve Harper to beat, but the former Newcastle keeper blocked well with his body.
Seconds later, Livermore was denied by the woodwork at the other end when his right-footed drive from 20 yards crashed against the post.
With five minutes to go, Mannone palmed away Huddlestone’s left-footed drive from 20 yards at the near post.
Hull substitute Robbie Brady was fortunate to only escape with a yellow card with two minutes to go when he dived into a challenge against Johnson.
FULL-TIME Hull 1 Sunderland 0
HULL: Harper, Rosenior (Proschwitz 70), Davies, McShane, Figueroa, Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Livermore, Boyd (Brady 76), Meyler (Koren 57), Sagbo. Subs not used: Jakupovic, Gedo, Faye, Quinn. Booked: Brady (88), Figueroa (90)
SUNDERLAND: Westwood (Mannone 43), Bardsley, Cuellar, O’Shea, Dossena, Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, Borini (Brown 46), Fletcher, Altidore (Johnson 46). Subs not used: Ki, Gardner, Celustka, Giaccherini. Sent off: Cattermole (45), Dossena (45).
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