Sunderland 3-1 Birmingham: No relief for Wayne Rooney after his Blues are picked apart in competent Black Cats performance – capped by super-sub Adil Aouchiche’s debut goal just TWO minutes after his introduction
- Goals from Aouchiche, Jobe Bellingham, and an own goal sealed home win
- Win momentarily boosts the Black Cats into the play-off places after fine start
- Why Luton are team that can stay up from promoted clubs: It’s All Coming Up
Wayne Rooney’s wait for a first win as Birmingham boss continues after the Blues crashed to a 3-1 defeat to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Rooney’s struggling side battled their way back into the game after conceding an early opener to former Birmingham youngster Jobe Bellingham, with Koji Miyoshi levelling the scores towards the end of the first half.
However, Sunderland were the better side for the majority of the contest, and after Dion Sanderson’s own goal restored the home side’s lead, Adil Aouchiche made the game safe with a close-range finish 14 minutes from time.
Sunderland suffered a pre-match blow when Dennis Cirkin was injured during the warm-up, necessitating the promotion of summer signing Nectarios Triantis to the starting line-up for his first league start since his summer move from Australia.
The last-minute switch did not appear to disrupt the Black Cats, however, as they dominated the early stages with Nazariy Rusyn smashing an 11th-minute shot against the post after turning neatly in the area.
Adil Aouchiche scored his first goal in a Sunderland shirt just two minutes after introduction
The second-half substitute produced a moment of magic to net his first after a summer move
Wayne Rooney is still without his first win as Birmingham City manager on another trying day
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Six minutes later, and the deadlock was broken as Sunderland scored from a set-piece. Jack Clarke swung in a corner from the left, Rusyn helped the ball on with a flicked header, and Bellingham volleyed home from the edge of the six-yard box.
Bellingham left Birmingham to join Sunderland in the summer, and the 18-year-old, who is the younger brother of England and Real Madrid star Jude, almost doubled his tally midway through the first half.
Bellingham swivelled smartly after Patrick Roberts’ corner was allowed to pass deep into the penalty area, but he scuffed his shot and the ball struck the same post that had been hit by Rusyn a few minutes earlier.
Birmingham were struggling at that stage, but the visitors battled their way back into things and gradually began to create chances of their own.
Niall Huggins hacked off his own goal-line to prevent Jay Stansfield from bundling home, but the home defence was breached on the half-hour mark.
Pierre Ekwah conceded possession, and after Stansfield crossed from the right, no one tracked the run of Miyoshi, who swept home a clinical first-time finish.
With the game remaining extremely open, chances continued to flow in the second half.
Jobe Bellingham (centre left) opened the scoring for the home side against his boyhood club after just 17 minutes
Birmingham were able to offer a prompt rejoinder when Koji Miyoshi shovelled in the equaliser on the half-hour mark
A brilliant last-ditch tackle from Birmingham defender Emanuel Aiwu prevented Rusyn getting a shot away, but the weight of Sunderland’s pressure told as they regained the lead just before the hour mark.
A short-corner routine ended with Roberts crossing from the right, with full-back Trai Hume keeping the ball alive at the back post as he looped a header over goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Triantis slid in with Aiwu on the goal-line, and after a series of ricochets, the final touch appeared to come off Sanderson before the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Sunderland made the game safe with 14 minutes left as Clarke did brilliantly to create space to slide over a low cross from the left, with substitute Aouchiche breaking ahead of his marker to turn home from close range.
As the ball pinballed in the six-yard box, Dion Sanderson was unlucky enough to go down as the scorer of Sunderland’s second
Rooney’s side were outclassed by a Black Cats team that streaked ahead in the second-half
Sunderland 3-1 Birmingham City: match facts
Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Patterson, Huggins, Hume, Seelt, Cirkin, Neil, Ekwah, Roberts (Mayenda), Jobe (Aouchiche), Clarke (Burstowe), Rusyn (Ba)
Subs not used: Bishop, Pritchard, Dack, Triantis, Hemir
Goals: Jobe (17′), Sanderson (OG 57′), Aouchiche (76′)
Booked: Roberts, Hume
Manager: Tony Mowbray
Birmingham (4-2-3-1): Ruddy, Laird (Oakley), Sanderson, Bacuna, Miyoshi (Gardner), Drameh, James (Dembele), Stansfield (Jutkiewicz), Sunjic, Aiwu, Burke (Hogan)
Subs not used: Etheridge, Roberts, Longelo, Khela
Goals: Miyoshi (30′)
Booked: Laird, James
Manager: Wayne Rooney
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