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Premier League

  • January 21, 2012
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 36904

Sunderland 2-0 Swansea City: Sessegnon and Gardner goals in each half decisive as O'Neill's men return to winning ways

Sunderland 2-0 Swansea City: Sessegnon and Gardner goals in each half decisive as O'Neill's men return to winning ways

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Two stunning goals in each half hand the Black Cats all three points after the visitors are brought down to earth with a bang after last weekend's win over Arsenal

Sunderland earned a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Swansea City at the Stadium of Light thanks to a brilliant first-half finish from Stephane Sessegnon and a superb volley in the 84th minute from Craig Gardner, as they taught the away side a lesson in finishing.

The teams kicked off in a swirling wind at the Stadium of Light, which favored the home side during the first half. Sunderland signalled its intentions early in the match by playing a high defensive line, and it was the Black Cats who had the first chance in the fifth minute, as Sebastian Larsson saw a back-post volley go just wide after a good cross by Kieran Richardson.

Unfortunately, Sunderland striker Nicklas Bendtner was forced to go off with a cut to the head in the 11th minute, to be replaced by Connor Wickham.

Having absorbed the pressure of Sunderland’s attacking play, Swansea managed to create a chance of its own after some good work by Leon Britton. The ball found its way to Scott Sinclair, but his shot went over the bar from inside the penalty area.

Swansea was made to regret Sinclair’s miss, as with its next attack, Sunderland took the lead in the 14th minute. James McLean and Stephane Sessegnon played a one-two, and Sessegnon finished brilliantly to give the home side a deserved 1-0 lead.

Sessegnon sizzler | Sunderland open the scoring in style at the Stadium of Light

Having taken the lead, Sunderland began to exert even more pressure on the Swansea goal, but could not quite create any more clear chances to double the advantage. The Swans grew into the first half and began to play some good passes, with Sigurdsson beginning to exert some influence in the midfield. However, Sunderland’s impressive work-rate prevented the away side from fashioning any goalscoring opportunities, with Larsson and McClean impressing in their respective wide roles.

The second half began in a more sedate way than the first half, but both sides were still playing with intent and looking to attack at any opportunity. Despite a goalmouth scramble that it just managed to clear, Swansea was again enjoying good periods of possession, with Joe Allen being very effective in the midfield against an increasingly frustrated Lee Cattermole.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was continuing to impress on his full debut for the visitors, and saw a free kick from 25 yards out in the 57th minute just pushed away by Sunderland’s goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and playing a key role in exerting further pressure in the Black Cats’ half. However, the Icelandic midfielder was substituted in the 65th minute, as Chelsea starlet Josh McEachran was brought on for his debut as a loanee for the Swans.

Despite the away side largely dominating possession, it was Sunderland who created the next clear chance, as after a good cross from the left by McClean, Sessegnon sent his header just wide of the post, under pressure from Swansea’s Neil Taylor. Unfortunately, despite the away side largely dominating possession, the work rate of the Sunderland players meant any attacking threats from the Swans were cancelled out.

Swansea kept pressing forward, looking for an equalizer, but was unable to force any mistakes from the obdurate Sunderland defense. After absorbing the pressure from the visitors, the home side doubled its advantage in the 84th minute thanks to a stunning volley from substitute Craig Gardner, putting the result beyond any doubt. From outside the Swansea penalty area, Gardner took the ball down on his chest before striking the ball into the top corner to seal the victory in some style.

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