Sun­der­land off the bot­tom as Le­ices­ter crash again



Sun­der­land climbed off the bot­tom of the Premier League as Le­ices­ter City’s dis­as­trous ti­tle de­fence suf­fered an­other blow with a 2-1 de­feat at the Sta­dium of Light yes­ter­day.

Robert Huth’s own goal and a Jer­main De­foe ef­fort put Sun­der­land in con­trol in the sec­ond half and Shinji Okazaki’s strike came too late to pre­vent a fifth de­feat in nine league games for Le­ices­ter.

Clau­dio Ranieri’s side lie just two points above the bot­tom three, while Sun­der­land con­tin­ued their steady im­prove­ment un­der David Moyes by record­ing a third vic­tory in four games to move into 18th place.

Jamie Vardy’s Premier League goal drought now stretches to three months on an­other day to for­get for Le­ices­ter, who fell be­hind in the 64th minute thanks to the kind of mis­for­tune to which they were largely im­mune en route to lift­ing the ti­tle in May. From Dun­can Wat­more’s cor­ner, sub­sti­tute Jan Kirch­hoff’s off tar­get header was go­ing nowhere un­til it struck Huth to find the bot­tom cor­ner of Ron-Robert Zieler’s net. Af­ter Pa­trick van Aan­holt’s penalty claims were turned down when the Sun­der­land de­fender ap­peared to be tripped in­side the area by Danny Simp­son, in what was a chas­ten­ing af­ter­noon for the for­mer Black Cats full-back, De­foe dou­bled the Wear­siders’ ad­van­tage with 13 min­utes re­main­ing.

Wat­more was again the line of sup­ply, when his shot from a Vic­tor Anichebe cross was blocked, as the ball fell invit­ingly for De­foe to fire home into the cor­ner from close range for his eighth league goal of the sea­son.

Le­ices­ter showed the kind of char­ac­ter for which they be­came syn­ony­mous last sea­son as they halved the deficit two min­utes later, Ja­pan striker Okazaki steal­ing in at the near post ahead of Papy Djilo­bodji to poke home a cross from De­marai Gray.

Jor­dan Pick­ford saved bril­liantly from Wes Mor­gan at a stop­page-time cor­ner as Le­ices­ter pressed in vain for an equaliser.

They could have few com­plaints at the out­come af­ter en­dur­ing an early storm where they could have found them­selves two goals down.

Nige­ria for­ward Anichebe thrived down Sun­der­land’s left and saw a goal­bound ef­fort blocked by Mor­gan in­side the six-yard box.

Anichebe had jus­ti­fi­able penalty ap­peals turned down when he ap­peared to be held back by the busy Le­ices­ter skip­per as his close-range shot was blocked by Huth af­ter the Foxes failed to deal with Di­dier Ndong’s cen­tre into the area.

Anichebe cre­ated an­other chance soon af­ter, us­ing his pace and power to beat Simp­son and cen­tre for De­foe, who un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally scuffed his shot from 10 yards. Le­ices­ter even­tu­ally got to grips with Ndong in Sun­der­land’s mid­field as the vis­i­tors be­gan to gain a foothold.

Vardy threat­ened three times with head­ers in the 20 min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val.

The best of these open­ings saw the Le­ices­ter for­ward lose his marker to meet Marc Al­brighton’s cross to send a loop­ing header over Pick­ford’s goal.

Chris­tian Fuchs, who pro­vided a telling cen­tre for Vardy to send a glanc­ing header nar­rowly wide, ended the first pe­riod by see­ing his cross from the left bounce off the Sun­der­land bar.

Is­lam Sli­mani saw his snap shot early in the sec­ond half strike the hand of Djilo­bodji in the area, but his penalty ap­peals proved fruit­less as, boosted by the in­tro­duc­tion of ex­pe­ri­enced mid­field pair Kirch­hoff and Seb Lars­son from the bench, Sun­der­land quickly gained the up­per hand.

They trans­lated that su­pe­ri­or­ity into two price­less goals, the sec­ond of which by De­foe, the 151st of his ca­reer, saw the for­mer Tot­ten­ham for­ward move above for­mer Eng­land in­ter­na­tional Michael Owen into sev­enth on the all-time Premier League goalscorer’s list. — AFP

Sun­der­land Le­ices­ter 2

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