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April 27, 2014
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 42397
C. Wickham 26', 86'
F. Borini 45'+
E. Giaccherini 76'
Cardiff now sit at the foot of the table and two points adrift of safety. Cala's red card will dominate the post-match thoughts of Solskjaer, but he must now concentrate on going to Newcastle and winning next week. For now though, I've been Tom Maston, and thanks for joining me.
The full-time whistle blows and Sunderland have taken a huge step towards survival with a thumping victory. They have games in hand on their rivals and are out of the relegation zone now. Poyet is masterminding a great escape in the North East.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Craig Gardner
90' + 4'
Into the final minute of stoppage time now and the trial is almost over for the visitors.
90' + 2'
Giaccherini looks to add a fifth as he breaks down the left before cutting inside, but his effort is a weak one and Marshall can hold on with ease.
The Cardiff fans are continuing to sing but they look like they are going to struggle to survive now. They most likely require two wins from their final two matches to have any hope of avoiding the drop.
Jones finally gets a chance to test Mannone but he cannot force the goalkeeper into a save as he heads Bellamy's cross from the left over the top.
Assist Emanuele Giaccherini
Goal Connor Wickham
GOAL!!! And right on cue Wickham nods in his second goal of the afternoon. Giaccherini floats in a corner that the striker does well to get his head on ahead of Theophile-Catherine. The ball deflects off the defender but this is Wickham's goal, and his fifth in three matches.
Wickham wins yet another Sunderland corner as he is tackled by Theophile-Catherine. The frontman has been very impressive this afternoon...
Yellow Card Fabio Borini
Borini picks up a booking as Sunderland make their final two chanes of the afternoon. Colback and Johnson are those given the last few minutes off, with Bridcutt and Gardner on in their places.
Sunderland seem fairly content with their lead now as they pass the ball around in a patient manner inside their own half. For such an important game, they have found it far too comfortable.
Cardiff's defence has been so poor and Whittingham this time loses out to Johnson. Eventually the hosts win a corner from which Colback drives just over the top from 20 yards.
Sunderland have fully deserved this scoreline, and though Cardiff will argue about the penalty decision that saw Cala sent off, they just haven't done enough to even deserve a point. They are set to drop to the bottom of the Premier League table.
Assist Fabio Borini
Yellow Card Emanuele Giaccherini
Goal Emanuele Giaccherini
GOAL!!! Game, set and match to Sunderland as the Italians combine! Borini picks the ball up from Wickham before himself feeding Giaccherini. The substitute is able to get in behind Medel and slots past Marshall. He does, however, pick up a booking for removing his shirt in celebration.
Wickham has so much confidence now as he runs at the Cardiff defence before cutting inside and powering a shot wide of the post. Cardiff just cannot get the ball at the moment.
One last throw of the dice for Cardiff as Bellamy replaces Campbell. The former Newcastle man doesn't get the warmest of welcomes from the home crowd.
Sunderland make their first change as Larsson is replaced by Giaccherini in midfield.
GOOD SAVE! Sunderland again overrun the visitors as a number of players combine before Colback crosses from the left and Borini is denied from close range by the reactions of Marshall. Inexplicably, the officials award a goal kick despite the save from the Scot.
Cardiff are being forced in defensive mode at the moment, meaning they are not reaping the rewards of playing with three strikers. Jones has been involved more in his own box than the oppositions since coming on.
Sunderland again threaten from a corner as Brown heads over the top after Larsson's delivery was deflected off a Cardiff head on it's way over.
Cardiff have now gone with three men up front, with Whittingham moving to full-back. Solskjaer obviously realises the importance of this game and isn't going to let his side go down wondering. They have just over 20 minutes to get something from this one.
Fabio Da Silva
Cardiff make yet another attacking change as Jones replaces Fabio for the visitors.
Whittingham has been excellent from dead balls today, and he almost gets the visitors back into it as he tries his luck from a free-kick that takes a deflection off Wickham, and Mannone does well to change direction and parry it away from danger.
The hosts again come forward as Colback brings the ball forward from midfield before finding Borini. Wickham is calling for the ball in the middle but the Italian chooses to shoot, but his effort is sliced and well wide of the post.
Sunderland almost take advantage of the gaps that have appeared as Johnson gets away down the left, but his low cross is just ahead of both Wickham and Borini and the chance is gone.
With the addition of Zaha, Cardiff certainly look much of a threat coming forward, but they are slightly exposed at the back. Sunderland will certainly fancy themselves to score more goals before the final whistle.
JUST WIDE! Cardiff go close as Whittingham whips in a corner from the left, and after losing his marker Brown, Mutch flashes a free header just wide of the left-hand upright. The visitors' best chance.
O'Shea was in fact taken out by Mannone, but seems fine to continue after receiving some treatment from the physio.
Some concern here for Sunderland as John O'Shea goes down after earlier being caught while defending a set-piece. Even with their lead, they won't want to lose their captain for any time.
Yellow Card Sebastian Larsson
Yellow Card Fabio Da Silva
Fabio is in trouble here as he responds to a foul by Borini shoving Larsson over in his rush to get the ball back. Dowd rightly books him despite him doing his best to get it overturned. Larsson is also booked for his part in the incident though he did little wrong.
Sunderland fans appeal for a penalty as Johnson goes down under a challenge from Theophile-Catherine, but Dowd rightly waves play on.
Borini is finding a lot of space as Sunderland's numerical advantage begins to show, and the Liverpool loanee goes close with a curling effort after being found by Larsson. Unfortunately for the hosts the shot didn't have the necessary bend and flew wide of Marshall's left-hand post.
Sunderland have started the second half as they began the first as they look to put Cardiff under pressure from the off. Medel has slipped into the back four alongside Caulker, and Wickham may well look to target him with his runs.
Zaha has replaced Cowie, and Sunderland get us back underway...
The players are making their way back out onto the field, and Solskjaer is going to make a change with Zaha about to come on. They certainly need to do something different as they chase the game.
Solskjaer must now give his team their biggest team talk of the season if they are to get back into this one. Wickham and Borini's goals have put the hosts in complete control, and with Cala sent off Cardiff have a mountain to climb. I'll be back in ten minutes to see if they can get back into it.
The half-time whistle goes and Cardiff are still arguing with Dowd as they make their way from the field. Replays suggest the original foul was outside the box, and the delay between the foul and the decision will not have pleased the visitors either.
45' + 1'
Penalty Goal Fabio Borini
GOAL!!! Cool as you like from Borini and this is Sunderland's to lose now. The Italian takes a break in his run-up before slotting the ball into the bottom corner. Marshall goes the right way but cannot keep it out, and the visitors are furious with that decision.
Red Card Cala
RED CARD!!! Cardiff are down to ten men and Sunderland have a penalty! Cala loses the ball to Wickham before pulling the striker back. After waving play on, Sunderland eventually lose the ball, but Dowd pulls play back and sends Cala off for the original tug. Borini to take...
Cardiff are having their best period of the match as we approach half-time, but in truth they aren't looking like finding an equaliser. Poyet can be pleased with the way his side have gone about this first half.
Cardiff continue to pass the ball around in midfield well enough without making any inroads into the Sunderland defence. An outlet such as Zaha or Bellamy may be required early in the second period.
Yellow Card Gary Medel
Phil Dowd is being forced into handing out a number of bookings now as Medel has his name taken for a poor challenge on Colback as he looked to break from midfield.
Yellow Card Santiago Vergini
Mutch is now on the receiving end as Vergini dives in on the Sunderland right and the full-back picks up a yellow card of his own.
Yellow Card Jordon Mutch
Mutch and Cattermole have been getting involved with each other for a while now, and the former picks up the first booking of the match for needlessly jumping into the Sunderland midfielder as he tried to win a high ball.
Sunderland again come forward as Caulker's headed clearance lands at the feet of Colback, but the midfielder cannot get his shot on target from the edge of the area.
Cala gets himself in all sorts of trouble as a long ball sails over him for Borini to run onto. The Italian then feeds Wickham, but Caulker gets across well to block his effort.
Despite playing with five men in midfield, Cardiff are offering the likes of Colback and Larsson far too much time on the ball. Solsjkaer could do with telling his players to press higher up the field here.
Little in the way of goalmouth action since Wickham's opener as the two teams take stock of the situation. As it stands the Black Cats will climb not only off the foot of the table but also out of the relegation zone with three matches to play.
The home side have deserved their lead after dominating play here, and Cardiff may now begin to come out of their shell. They've looked threatening at times on the break but O'Shea and Brown have been fairly comfortable.
Assist Sebastian Larsson
Goal Connor Wickham
GOAL!!! You just cannot stop Wickham scoring at the moment! Larsson delivers another corner from the left-hand side, and after Campbell misses his attempted clearance, Wickham gets above Theopile-Catherine to nod in at the back post. That's four in three now for the former Ipswich man.
The volume of the crowd has gone up a notch with the home fans sensing their team need a bit of a lift. Frustration may well be setting in after having most of the play without really threatening Marshall's goal.
Cardiff win a free-kick after Cattermole is penalised for a foul on Cowie, but Sunderland are able to clear with relative ease. The visitors not exactly taking their chances at present.
Poyet's side are still dominating possession but Cardiff have certainly got themselves organised after a difficult opening ten minutes. Only Campbell is being left forward when the hosts get the ball.
The game does seem to have lost some of its early tempo, with Sunderland now struggling to break down the visitors' defence. Medel is doing a good job of breaking up play in front of them too.
Cardiff get their first real opportunity as Mutch does well to head Whittingham's corner back across goal, but Cowie's volley is always heading off-target.
Cardiff certainly look happy to be patient in possession when they get the ball, with the visitors also content with working the ball back to Marshall. The aim seems to be to quieten this loud home support.
The ball is delivered towards the back post, and though Vergini heads it behind, referee Phil Dowd awards the hosts a free-kick for a foul on Mannone.
Mutch gets involved for the first time as he brings the ball inside before winning a corner after trading passes with Cowie. Whittingham to deliver from the right-hand side...
Larsson is heavily involved again as he spots the run of Borini as the Liverpool loanee cuts inside from the left, but the pass over the top is just too heavy and Marshall can come off his line and collect.
Cardiff are proving the architects of their own downfall as Cala plays a wayward pass into Larsson's path. The midfielder feeds Wickham before racing into the box, but he cannot get enough power on his header to beat Marshall, with the goalkeeper holding on comfortably.
Larsson's set-piece is sent towards the back post, but Marshall does well to palm it away from danger. At the other end Cattermole does well to block Daehli's goalbound effort after the winger cut inside from the left.
Sunderland are dominating these early stages, and Cowie is forced into conceding another corner as Johnson crosses towards the back post from the right-hand side...
Larsson's ball in from the left is headed clear, but the home side work the ball back to the Swede, and Marshall gets lost underneath it. The goalkeeper has to recover though as Wickham looks to beat him at his near post from a tight angle. The Scot eventually turns it behind for a corner which comes to nothing.
Sunderland have started with a spring in their step and win a corner after some pinball inside the Cardiff box...
Cardiff kick-off and we are underway...
The two sides have exchanged pleasantries and we are all but ready for kick-off in the North East...
The two teams make their way out onto the field and there is a great noise inside the arena. This is set to be a superb encounter between two teams fighting for their lives.
There is certainly a big game atmosphere inside the Stadium of Light, and the two teams are in the tunnel. Both look pumped up and ready to go for what is probably their biggest match of the campaign to date.
Even if Cardiff go down, one man who can hold his head high is goalkeeper David Marshall. The Scot has made more saves (143) than any other Premier League goalkeeper this season, and he may well have to be on form again to make sure the Bluebirds leave the North East with something today.
The first meeting between these two sides this season was dominated by the backdrop of Mackay's sacking at Cardiff, and Sunderland didn't lighten the mood of the Welsh supporters as they scored twice in the final ten minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw. Poyet will be hopeful his side can come out of the traps quicker today and impose themselves on their visitors.
Solsjkaer makes just one change to the Cardiff side that came from behind to draw 1-1 with Stoke last time out, with Don Cowie replacing Kim Bo-Kyung in midfield. Manchester United loanee Wilfried Zaha is again kept on the bench alongside veteran Craig Bellamy.
Unsurprisingly Poyet has named an unchanged side to that which started against Manchester City and Chelsea, meaning Connor Wickham again starts up front. The young forward has scored three times in the two aforementioned fixtures despite only previously netting once in his first 37 Premier League appearances. Santiago Vergini is again preferred to Phil Bardsley at right-back.
Cardiff City subs: Lewis, Turner, Jones, Eikrem, Zaha, Bellamy, John.
Cardiff City: Marshall; Theopile-Catherine, Caulker, Cala, Fabio; Cowie, Medel, Whittingham, Daehli; Mutch, Campbell.
Sunderland subs: Bardsley, Gardner, Altidore, Giaccherini, Bridcutt, Scocco, Ustari.
Sunderland: Mannone; Vergini, O'Shea, Brown, Alonso; Cattermole, Larsson, Colback; Johnson, Borini; Wickham.
Before we go any further, the two team line-ups are in ahead of kick-off...
Cardiff have struggled throughout their first Premier League campaign, especially after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Malky Mackaay as manager. Despite having won just one match in their last six they know a win today will carry them out of the relegation zone and give them some real hope of avoiding the drop.
Gus Poyet's side looked down and out ten days ago, but after taking four points from trips to Manchester City and Chelsea they now have the sides above them back in their sights. Their form against the teams around them isn't great, but the confidence they will have taken from their win at Stamford Bridge especially may well be enough to carry them to safety.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Premier League encounter between Sunderland and Cardiff City. It may be a cliche, but we are now at do or die time for these two sides, with defeat for either all but confirming their relegation to the Championship. Of course both could still survive, but the impact a loss would have may be too difficult to recover from. I'm Tom Maston and I'll be guiding through all the action from the Stadium of Light.
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