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1 January 2014
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 39757
G. Agbonlahor 15'
Full-time has finally been signalled, with the final score reading Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa. I'm Livio Caferoglu and it's goodbye from me!
90' + 6'
Albrighton leads a thunderous counterattack down the right flank, but Delph skies his cut-back!
90' + 5'
We're 30 seconds into overtime and still there's no sign of the referee's whistle being blown!
90' + 4'
The corner is easily cleared by the makeshift Villa rearguard. Meanwhile, Fletcher ruins a legitimate chance with a silly handball on the edge of the box.
90' + 2'
Two of the five injury-time minutes have been played, with Sunderland about to take a corner!
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Jozy Altidore
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Jack Colback
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Gabriel Agbonlahor
No idea what Colback's motive was there, but he's just backed into Agbonlahor while off the ball. A rift between both sets of players ensues... but order is promptly brought back.
Altidore has definitely made a difference since being thrown into the frying pan. His hold-up play enables him to find Colback overlapping him to his left, but the midfielder's strike is too high. Moments later, Giaccherini profits from the forward's presence, yet his shooting boots clearly aren't on today.
Lambert is in sixes and sevens as he cannot fathom what he's just witnessed!! Albrighton gets in behind the Sunderland backline and approaches Mannone in a one-on-one situation, yet he somehow puts his finish into the orbit!
Diakite embodies calmness as, despite finding himself under immense siege from three other Villa shirts, he coolly plays the ball back to his goalkeeper.
ENCOURAGING FROM ALBRIGHTON!! The pacy winger shows his marker a clean set of heels and arrows a powerful shot towards the top-right corner of the Sunderland net - which Mannone must tip wide!
A long ball, aimed for one of Sunderland's strikers, predictably bounces into the gloves of Guzan.
Delph receives the ball from the left-hand side but drags his effort well wide of the target. The quality is sadly lacking at the moment, with this clash threatening to become a scrap.
THAT'S HOW YOU EXECUTE A SLIDING TACKLE! Kudos to Diakite for timing his challenge to perfection and pushing the ball out of Benteke's reach as he readies himself for the shot.
CLEARED OFF THE LINE!!! Benteke plays a fantastic cut-back onto his right foot to trick his marker. However, rather incredibly, Bardsley throws himself onto the line to head the ball away!
Mass mayhem erupts in the Sunderland final third, but Altidore is furious with Giaccherini after making space for the Italian to play a one-two with him, yet the midfielder elects to take a shot which is high, wide but not at all handsome.
Vlaar's recurrence of a previous injury sees him replaced by Albrighton. It's highly probable that Westwood will be deployed as a centre-back in the captain's absence.
The ineffective and - at times - invisible Ji is replaced by Altidore. The burly striker can surely give Sunderland another dimension in their forward play, providing his physicality is utilised correctly.
The referee is slowly losing control of this encounter as he shows a yellow card to Ki, despite a fair protest in response to the meaty challenge he received. Soon after, Poyet throws his arms about in frustration as he cannot make a substitution in time.
Yellow Card Ki Sung-Yueng
Ki is dispossessed by Agbonlahor in the middle of the park and quickly supplies Weimann a through ball, but the Austrian can only steer the finish wide of the far post. The experienced attacker should have been pulled over by the referee in hindsight.
It's been all Sunderland since the restart. Lady Luck simply hasn't been on their side this afternoon... but wait!
Giaccherini finds Borini in the D of the Villa box, but his shot is deflected for a corner. The resulting set-piece then ends with a wallop from Bardsley!
Now it's Ji's turn to express his frustration with the rough-and-tumble nature of tackling currently present, after being hauled down by Weimann. Delph's dissent to the referee subsequently earns him a yellow card.
Yellow Card Fabian Delph
Agbonlahor is furious as he is penalised for an apparent foul on Colback on the edge of the box, despite being clattered into the back of by the Irishman!
BORINIIIII!!!!!!! The hosts are on the wrong side of another 50-50 call once more as the Italian striker is adjudged offside after poking the ball beyond Guzan from point-blank range. He looked level to me!
HUGE PENALTY SHOUT!!! Sunderland are seething as Ki's cross clearly strikes the hand of Lowton in the area. The referee is having none of it again... when the chips are down, they truly are down!
WHAT A STRIKE!!! Agbonlahor shapes up a speculative effort from some way out, but it takes a massive deflection and Mannone must dive to his left to push the ball away!
Cattermole's fatal error in the first half is probably enough of a reason in its own right to be sacrificed by another attacker in Fabio Borini.
Welcome back ladies and gentlemen! We're back in business here on Tyneside.
The two sides go through the tunnel and into their respective dressing rooms, with Aston Villa 1-0 up against Sunderland! Join us again in 15 minutes for coverage of the second half.
One minute of time will be added on.
Shocking decision from the linesman to deny Diakite from a goalscoring opportunity. Colback shifts past his marker with some deft footwork before his cross is blocked, but Giaccherini manages to pick up the loose ball and play in the defender who was clearly a yard onside!
NOT KI AGAIN... SURELY!! The midfielder must be rueing his luck at the moment. A ball bounces into his path into the area, but his strike is deflected for the umpteenth time!
Yellow Card Leandro Bacuna
Bacuna is again penalised for a foul, this time near the Villa box on the left flank, but Giaccherini's free kick can't even beat the wall!
Bacuna is a little too enthusiastic in his attempts to win back possession as he catches Roberge deep in his own half. The Dutchman should really ought to have been booked.
Giaccherini finds Ki on the edge of the box on the right-hand side, but his shot is deflected en route to goal and the danger is averted.
Sunderland are suffering from a chronic lack of width at the moment. Giaccherini and Colback clearly prefer coming inside, forcing their full-backs to work extra hard to fill the gaps before dashing back into their own half to support their centre-backs.
Giaccherini can't believe his luck as he is adjudged to have put the ball out for a throw, when replays show that Bacuna had the last connection.
Ki roams in-field from the wide right, but fails to find Fletcher in the box with a curling low cross which whistles off the field of play for a Villa throw.
Cattermole has been an absolute liability so far. Again, he miscontrols a simple pass and lets Agbonlahor in, but Diakite is on hand to crash into the side of the attacker for a corner.
Bardsley plays a well-worked one-two down the left flank with Giaccherini and finds an onrushing Ki on the outskirts of the area, and he slams another low effort straight at Guzan.
Villa may be ahead, but it's not been an afternoon to remember for one Christian Benteke yet. The gangly hitman looks isolated on his own up top, and when his team are going forward, they seldom use him as an outlet!
AGBONLAHOR AGAIN!!!!!!!! The industrious forward fires a clean attempt at goal from around 20 yards out, but Mannone is equal to it! Diakite then shepherds the ball out for a goal kick.
Yellow Card Emanuele Giaccherini
Giaccherini has been probably the liveliest man on the pitch thus far, but his dive to win a free kick on the edge of the box was unforgivable. A yellow card is thoroughly warranted.
Sunderland cry for a penalty shout, as Ki takes on a couple of Villa shirts before falling to the ground after an apparent obstruction in the box. Nothing is given, however!
VILLA REPLY AT THE OTHER END!!! This time it's Bacuna who pushes up into an attacking position and comes agonisingly close to adding to his side's advantage, but his strike from a tight angle on the left is wayward!
SUNDERLAND ALMOST EQUALISE!!! Ki's influence on the match is highlighted again as he puts Colback through with a delicate pass, but Colback's finish from close range is blocked for a corner!
Goal Gabriel Agbonlahor
Cattermole makes an unforgivable howler deep in his own half as he sells Mannone short with an awful piece of control, allowing an alert Agbonlahor to nip at his heels and sweep up the ball into an empty net!
VILLA TAKE THE LEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!
The visitors almost get caught out by another long ball forward to Ki, but the South Korean midfielder is forced to concede defeat to Guzan in pursuit of the ball.
Villa find themselves under huge pressure and are struggling to contain the Sunderland onslaught at the moment. Can the Black Cats sustain this level of intensity for the remaining 77 minutes?
Great start from Sunderland, in no part inspired by Giaccherini's all-action start to proceedings today! Again, the Italian finds a pocket of space on the left and eases past Bacuna, before crossing low and hard to Ki at the far post, but he can only slide the ball into the stand!
FLETCHER!!!! The Scotland international should have done a lot better there, as Celustka sends a diagonal lobbed pass through to Giaccherini, who is central to goal, and he finds the striker in the box with a measured ball, but the resulting finish is dragged wide!
CHANCE! Giaccherini opens himself up for the shot, and he angles a low drive just wide of the target!
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet looks on pensively from under the dugout shelter of a rain-ridden Stadium of Light. He knows that a win could lift his side out of the relegation zone, and they won't have a better chance than against a Clarets outfit who ended a sequence of four defeats against Swansea last week.
Villa play the ball around patiently in their own half, but it's suddenly launched straight to Benteke who is unable to connect to the pass.
We're under way this New Year's Day on Wearside!
The players are out on the pitch, with kick-off now imminent!
Villa, meanwhile, make two changes of their own - namely talismanic striker Christian Benteke who has missed the last three games with a knee injury. Captain Ron Vlaar is also back in contention, replacing Ciaran Clark in the heart of defence.
Sunderland may be placed bottom of the Premier League table, but they are unbeaten in their last four matches - proof that they won't give up their top-flight distinction just yet. First-team regulars Steven Fletcher and Jack Colback return to their XI this afternoon, along with Ondrej Celustka and Ki Sung-Yeung.
And last but certainly not least, the Villans: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Luna; Westwood, Bacuna; Weimann, Delph, Agbonlahor; Benteke.
Right, let's look at the two sides, starting with the hosts: Mannone; Celustka, Bardsley, Diakite, Roberge; Cattermole, Ki; Colback, Ji, Giaccherini; Fletcher.
Hello and welcome to LIVE commentary of the Premier League match-up involving Sunderland and Aston Villa. I'm Livio Caferoglu and I'll be guiding you through all the action as it happens at the Stadium of Light!
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