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Match Report

Relegated Sunderland put pressure back on Tigers

Who would have guessed it?

Already relegated Sunderland beat Hull City two nil. Marco Silva’s proud unbeaten home record, going back forty one games and four years came to an end in unexpected circumstances.

City played a conventional four four two, with Niasse and Hernandez upfront. Warning signs came early; a free header from Honeyman should have put Sunderland in front, but it went wide. So many chances went begging for City in a nervy first half. Clucas, Hernandez and Niasse all spurned chances, while Sunderland looked dangerous on the break. As so often this season, Jakupovic kept City in the game, and City went in level at half time. Sunderland had played without fear, and City (and their fans) were a bundle of nerves.

In the second half,a route one ball from Pickford found Defoe, but Jakupovic was alert to the chance. It was beginning to look ominous, as  N’Diaye and Markovic squandered glorious chances. On sixty eight minutes, City showed the dangers of zonal defence as a flick on by O’Shea was headed home by Billy Jones, with most of City’s defence playing statues. Oh dear.
That was not in the script, but to Sunderland’s credit, they played without fear and fully deserved their victory. The final  nail in the coffin was a poacher’s goal from Defoe, and all the City fans could do was hope that Swansea lose at home to Everton. City were desperately unlucky at times, Pickford was outstanding, but this was a shocker. Sunderland’s second win in eighteen games put City in desperate peril. It’s no longer in our hands. The Great Escape now looks extremely difficult, but I write this before knowing the Swansea result. Come on Everton. Desperate times.
By David Osgerby

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