Crystal Palace 0-4 Sunderland: First-half Sunderland romp routs sorry Eagles
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 04/02/17 6:49pm
Four goals in the first half from Sunderland helped them to dismiss Premier League relegation rivals Crystal Palace 4-0 on Saturday afternoon.
David Moyes' men took the lead in the tenth minute through Lamine Kone before three goals in the final five minutes of the half sealed a vital win.
Didier Ndong also opened his account for the Black Cats in the 43rd minute to double the lead, and was swiftly followed by a Jermain Defoe double in injury time that completed a first-half romp for the visitors.
Sunderland remain bottom of the Premier League table after Hull's 2-0 victory against Liverpool but are level on points with Palace, who sit just above the Black Cats on goal difference.
Sunderland had the first chance of the opening period inside eight minutes as Jack Rodwell - who ended his run of 39 top-flight starts without a victory - slid the ball into the path of Defoe, with the striker getting in front of Joel Ward to have a shot but Wayne Hennessey was there to make a good save.
A poor clearance from the Palace goalkeeper two minutes later lead to Sunderland going ahead. Seb Larsson delivered a free-kick that Kone met at the back post, but it was straight into the path of Hennessey. However, under pressure from Billy Jones, he could only palm it back to the feet of the defender to volley home.
The Eagles did see the better of the ball during the first half, and had their best chance in the 23rd minute as a cleared corner fell to Patrick van Aanholt at the top of the box. He slid the ball to Damien Delaney on the left and he fired a cross into the box, but James Tomkins' header whistled just past the post.
The Crystal Palace collapse was on the way as Sunderland added their second in the 43rd minute. It was club-record signing Ndong who was on target with his first goal for the club after some poor control from Joe Ledley allowed the Gabon international to slip in front and take a few strides towards goal before curling a fantastic effort past a leaping Hennessey.
The three minutes of injury time saw Defoe twice get on the scoresheet. The first was a fine break from the visitors as Adnan Januzaj was set away down the left flank, before playing a cool pass into the feet of the striker who swept home.
Two minutes later, Defoe was at it again to make it 4-0 before half-time, receiving the ball on the left of the box - again from Januzaj - before turning past Tomkins and producing a powerful finish as the two sides headed down the tunnel to a chorus of boos and chants from the home fans.
The second half was a much quieter affair with few chances, mostly punctured with substitutions for both sides after players continued to go down with injuries.
Palace had the first chance of the half in the 65th minute as Christian Benteke forced a save from Vito Mannone before the striker fired an overhead kick way over the bar after a punched corner clearance from the goalkeeper fell into his path.
With two assists to his name, Januzaj went close to adding his own name to the list in the 74th minute as Bryan Oviedo fed him the ball at the top of the box but his curling effort just went past the top corner.
Palace could twice have pulled goals back as the half wore on as Wilfried Zaha fired a header into the hands of Mannone before some fantastic defending from Jason Denayer saw Sunderland also come away with a clean sheet as he sent a powerful shot from Jason Puncheon looping over the bar.
Larsson could have added a jaw-dropping fifth in the 90th minute as he fizzed a shot from 25 yards just wide, but there is no doubting Moyes would be very happy with his haul as the full-time whistle blew.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (6), Ward (6), Dann (6), Delaney (5), Tomkins (5), Van Aanholt (6), Zaha (6), McArthur (5), Cabaye (4), Puncheon (5), Benteke (5).
Subs used: Remy (5), Townsend (6), Ledley (5).
Sunderland: Mannone (7), Denayer (7), O'Shea (7), Kone (8), Jones (7), Ndong (7), Rodwell (7), Larsson (7), Oviedo (8), Januzaj (8), Defoe (7).
Subs used: Gibson (6), Lescott (6), Pienaar (6).
Man of the match: Lamine Kone.