Bent does a double
Darren Bent has said he is tired of talking about his chances of going to the World Cup, although the argument looked anything but exhausted after his clinically taken double set Sunderland on their way to victory.
"He is a natural finisher and, although we have some excellent strikers, we don't have many like him," said Sunderland manager Steve Bruce. "I think he has an outstanding chance of going [to the World Cup].."
Birmingham will spend the rest of weekend wondering how they managed to slip to defeat. Bent's first goal, slotting the ball in after Stephen Carr's tackle on Benjani, came after just five minutes and he doubled the lead quickly, galloping on to Steed Malbranque's pass, before wrong-footing the keeper to score with his unfavoured left foot.
Birmingham recovered and Craig Gordon had to be inspired, producing a string of world-class saves before Cameron Jerome pulled one back just after the hour. Sunderland ended the fightback with two minutes remaining when Fraizer Campbell slid in to convert Jordan Henderson's cross at the near post.
"He looked every inch the international goalkeeper," said Birmingham boss Alex McLeish. "We had some wonderful chances and feel we could have got something."