Sunderland 2 West Bromwich Albion 0: Cats safe in style

Fabio Borini celebrates putting Sunderland two up on West Brom tonight
Fabio Borini celebrates putting Sunderland two up on West Brom tonight
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SUNDERLAND will be playing Premier League football next season after securing their top flight status with a comfortable 2-0 win over West Brom.

The Black Cats only required a solitary point to confirm their survival, yet registered all three against the Baggies, to move up to 14th in the table and send Norwich City into the Championship.

Jack Colback gave Sunderland the early lead they craved when he steered home Marcos Alonso’s cross before Fabio Borini converted Seb Larsson’s sublime pass for a stunning second goal.

It was no more than Sunderland deserved after thoroughly dominating the visitors during the opening 45 minutes.

West Brom improved marginally after the break, yet Jozy Altidore and Santiago Vergini both spurned glorious opportunities to put the game to bed.

But Poyet’s men coasted to a fourth successive Premier League victory - the first time they have managed that feat since 2000 - to complete their great escape from the jaws of relegation.

Sunderland were unchanged for the fifth game in a row, as Poyet’s side brushed off the exertions of their 1-0 weekend victory at Manchester United.

West Brom made four changes to the starting XI, with Gareth McAuley, Steven Reid, Claudio Yacob and Victor Anichebe taking the places of Jonas Olsson, Morgan Amalfitano and Youssouf Mulumbu.

There was also a first Stadium of Light return for former Sunderland striker Stephane Sessegnon, who joined the Baggies last summer.

Both teams seemed content to play keep-ball in the opening exchanges, until Fabio Borini almost broke the deadlock in stunning fashion in the eighth minute.

Borini received a square pass, to the left of goal 25 yards out, and struck a powerful right-footed angled drive which was spectacularly tipped over the top by Baggies keeper Ben Foster.

But four minutes later, Sunderland deservedly got their noses in front.

Marcos Alonso’s low cross from the left was allowed to bobble inside the West Brom area and Colback managed to readjust to stab the ball with his right foot beyond Foster from eight yards.

Sunderland doubled their advantage in the 31st minute with a lovely ninth goal of the season from Borini.

Seb Larsson collected possession 30 yards and played a pinpoint pass in behind the Baggies defence for Borini, who had beaten the offside trap.

With Foster advancing out of his goal, Borini elegantly cushioned a right-footed volley into the corner.

Two minutes before the interval, Sunderland were almost punished for a lapse in communication between Lee Cattermole and Larsson, which saw West Brom nick possession and counter-attack.

The ball went to Saido Berahino on the left flank and the England Under-21 international cut inside before curling a right-footed shot towards the far corner which was pushed away by Vito Mannone low to his left.

HALF-TIME Sunderland 2 West Brom 0

Baggies boss Pepe Mel made a double change at the break; putting an extra man in central midfield after realising his side were getting badly outnumbered there.

It resulted in a significant improvement from the visitors, with substitute Craig Dawson whipping ball across the face from the right which was just out of reach of Victor Anichebe.

Sunderland should have put the game to bed in the 65th minute when Colback’s cross from the left was on a plate for Jozy Altidore, six yards out.

But the American lost his balance and somehow contrived to direct it wide with the goal at his mercy.

Sunderland had another golden opportunity at the end of another flowing move four minutes later.

Lee Cattermole’s square ball picked out Larsson on the edge of the area, who fed it forward to Borini before the Italian found Santiago Vergini on the overlap.

Vergini hit an angled first-time shot to the right of goal, 12 yards out, but it whistled just wide of the far post.

FULL-TIME Sunderland 2 West Brom 0

SUNDERLAND: Mannone, Vergini, Brown, O’Shea, Alonso, Cattermole (Giaccherini 88), Colback, Larsson, Johnson (Bridcutt 61), Borini, Wickham (Altidore 61). Subs not used: Bardsley, Ba, Scocco, Ustari.

WEST BROM: Foster, Reid (Dawson 46), McAuley, Lugano, Brunt, Berahino (Vydra 78), Yacob (Mulumbu 46), Morrison, Dorrans, Sessegnon, Anichebe. Subs not used: Myhill, Sinclair, Olsson, O’Neil.

Attendance: 45,181Twitter @youngsunecho

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