Friday 19 January 2018

Poyet's Sunderland seal great escape

Sunderland 2 West Brom 0

Fabio Borini of Sunderland (R) beats Gareth McAuley of West Bromwich Albion to score their second goal. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Fabio Borini of Sunderland (R) beats Gareth McAuley of West Bromwich Albion to score their second goal. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Stephane Sessegnon of West Bromwich Albion battles with Jack Colback of Sunderland (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Fabio Borini of Sunderland (R) beats Gareth McAuley of West Bromwich Albion to score their second goal. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Jack Colback of Sunderland (14) beats goalkeeper Ben Forster of West Bromwich Albion to score their first goal. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Gus Poyet got his miracle as Sunderland ensured their continued presence in the Premier League with a comfortable win over West Brom.

Just weeks after admitting they needed divine intervention when they slipped seven points off the survival pace, the 46-year-old Uruguayan saw his team secure a fourth successive top-flight win for the first time since December 2000 to end their fears.

The win means 18th-placed Norwich have only a purely mathematical chance of avoiding relegation.

Jack Colback's third goal of the season got the home side off to the perfect start when he turned Marcos Alonso's cross past Ben Foster.

But Sunderland were cruising 18 minutes later when Fabio Borini volleyed home his ninth of the campaign.

Neither goalscorer may remain at the Stadium of Light next season with Colback out of contract and being linked with derby rivals Newcastle, and Borini wanted back at Liverpool after a hugely successful loan spell.

But if their goals prove to be their last meaningful contributions – Poyet has hinted talks with Colback could yet be reopened – they could not have been any more timely.

The Stadium of Light was rocking as the bulk of a crowd of 45,181 celebrated the great escape as if it were the trophy the club came so close to securing in the League Cup final at Wembley in March.

Sunderland could even afford a glaring miss from substitute Jozy Altidore, who steered a 65th-minute shot wide with the goal at his mercy as a chance to kill off a resurgent West Brom came and went.

But for all the visitors made a game of it in the second half, they rarely looked like denying their hosts three more points to go with the 10 they garnered from their last four games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Cardiff and Manchester United.

Irish Independent

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