Sunderland U23s beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to reach semi-finals of Premier League International Cup

The Sunderland players celebrate Ethan Robson's opening goal.
The Sunderland players celebrate Ethan Robson's opening goal.
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Sunderland Under-23s have reached the semi-finals of the Premier League International Cup after a 2-0 win over Athletic Club Bilbao at the Stadium of Light.

Goals from Ethan Robson and Elliot Embleton saw the young Black Cats through against 10-man Bilbao, who had Inigo Cordoba red carded in the second half.

Sunderland will now play either Swansea City or Hertha Berlin in the semi-final, with that game due to be played at the end of this month.

The Spaniards started the stronger, with their high technical levels clear to see.

Max Stryjek had to be on his guard in the opening few minutes but he failed to keep hold of the ball from a Bilbao corner and Iker Hernandez blazed his overhead kick over the crossbar.

It was a let off for the Black Cats but they kept their composure and fought their way back into the game - Thomas Beadling doing well down the right flank, the ball eventually falling to

Ethan Robson but his shot was blocked.

Hernandez was the dangerman for the visitors, the burly frontman cleverly beat the offside trap before chesting the ball down. His shot palmed away by Stryjek.

Bilbao looked dangerous but it was Sunderland that took the lead, Ethan Robson prodding the loose ball home in the 24th minute.

Joel Asoro's shot was palmed away by Unai Etxeberria, with Robson quickest to respond.

Hernandez dragged another effort wide before Stryjek was called upon again just before half-time, he got down to his left to deny Hernandez again, Inigo Cordoba with the pass.

Half-time: Sunderland 1 Bilbao 0

Asoro should have doubled Sunderland's lead within a minute of the re-start, he was in one on one but his effort was saved by Etxeberria.

It didn't matter, Embleton doubled Sunderland's lead a minute later with a superb effort from all of 25-yards. Sunderland were in command.

And their position was strengthened when Cordoba was shown a straight red card for squaring up to Beadling in the 51st minute.

Asoro was causing the Bilbao defence all sorts of problems. Sunderland almost had a third, Ethan Robson saw his shot deflected onto the post by Etxeberria.

Sunderland comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to progress to the semi-final stage of the competition.

Full-time: Sunderland 2 Bilbao 0

Sunderland XI: Stryjek; Robson J, Robson T (C), Beadling T (Wright, 81), Ledger, Casey; Molyneux (Poame (90), Robson E, Embleton; Greenwood, Asoro (Hume, 81)

Subs Not Used: Brotherton, Talbot, Gamble, Taylor

Booked: Embleton (72)

Goals: E. Robson (24), Embleton (47)

Bilbao XI: Etxeberria, Murua, Lopez, Nonez, Bernaola (Seguin, 55), Undabarrena (C), Guruzeta, Zarraga, Hernandez (Vicente, 72), Nolaskoain, (Dulce, 65)Cordoba.

Subs Not Used: Murgoitio, Iruarrizaga, Cortazar.

Booked: None

Red: Cordoba (51)

Goals: None

Referee: Mr T Bramall

Attendance: 634