Sunderland 3-1 Aston Villa: Jermain Defoe double earns victory
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 02/01/16 8:45pm
Jermain Defoe's double earned Sunderland their first Premier League win in six games, overcoming bottom club Aston Villa 3-1 at the Stadium of Light.
Patrick van Aanholt's deflected effort gave Sunderland the lead in the first half - his first Premier League goal - before Carles Gil's superb second-half volley brought Villa level.
Defoe's near-post finish regained Sunderland's lead with 18 minutes remaining, and the striker got his second in stoppage time, smashing the ball home from 12 yards out.
The result leaves Villa without a win in 19 - 11 points off safety - while Sunderland are now four points behind Swansea in 17th.
Villa made five changes to the side that lost 2-0 at Norwich on December 28, while Sunderland welcomed back John O'Shea and Duncan Watmore.
The visitors started the brightest, and went close early on after Jordan Veretout's volley on the stretch from Leandro Bacuna's cross was superbly tipped wide by Vito Mannone.
But Sunderland took the lead against the run of play on the half-hour mark through Van Aanholt, whose left-footed effort from 20 yards deflected off Micah Richards and wrong-footed Brad Guzan in the Villa goal.
Defoe forced Guzan into a good, low save just before the hour mark with a strike from just inside the area, before Van Aanholt went close again from long range, but Villa were level moments later.
Substitute Adama Traore beat Van Aanholt and Wes Brown with his pace down the right, before his flighted ball to the far post was expertly volleyed into the top right corner on the stretch by Gil.
But Sunderland were back in front just nine minutes later, as Defoe was allowed to turn in the area by Joleon Lescott before his left-footed effort crept in at the near post past Guzan's right-hand.
Villa failed to muster up another chance to equalise, and Sunderland wrapped up the points in stoppage time through Defoe, the striker getting on the end of Ola Toivonen's unselfish pass to powerfully drive the ball high into the net past Guzan.
Defoe, who now has six Premier League goals this term, had the ball in the net again a minute later after beating Guzan, but was incorrectly adjudged to be offside.
Sunderland: Mannone (6), Jones (6), van Aanholt (7), O'Shea (6), Brown (6), Cattermole (6), M'Vila (6), Johnson (6), Borini (6), Watmore (6), Defoe (8)
Subs: Graham (6), Toivonen (6), Coates (6)
Aston Villa: Guzan (5), Hutton (4), Richards (5), Lescott (5), Cissokho (6), Bacuna (6), Gana (5), Veretout (6), Gil (6), Gestede (4), Grealish (3)
Subs: Sinclair (5), Adama (6), Kozak (5).
Man of the match: Jermain Defoe