Birmingham 1-2 Sunderland: Man Utd loanee Amad Diallo is enough to earn Black Cats victory after injury

Birmingham 1-2 Sunderland: Man Utd loanee Amad Diallo is enough to earn Black Cats victory after injury

Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo scored a second-half stunner as injury-hit Sunderland held off a late Birmingham attack to win 2-1 at St Andrew’s.

Birmingham had the better of the chances in both halves but fell behind to Sunderland’s first real chance of the game, Diallo holding up the ball brilliantly before finding Ellis Simms in space, his driven effort too powerful for John Ruddy to keep out. .

Scott Hogan, the Championship’s top scorer, wasted a couple of fine first-half chances either side of goal and would regret those misses further when Diallo doubled the away side’s lead with a wonderful finish at the end of a fast break.

Lukas Jutkiewicz came off the bench as Birmingham threw the kitchen sink at their visitors and his goal gave them hope with 12 minutes remaining, but Sunderland held on despite an avalanche of late pressure from the hosts to earn a third win from four games which lifts them into the top half of the championship table.

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Ellis Simms gives Sunderland the lead against Birmingham

How Sunderland shook off injury problems for rare win in Birmingham

The Black Cats came into the match missing six players through a mixture of injury and suspension, and endured a period of early Birmingham pressure, culminating in Troy Deeney heading against the post from Auston Trusty’s flick.

They would have anticipated the quick start as the Blues had already scored six goals in the first 15 minutes of matches this season, but after surviving, they turned the tables on their hosts and netted from their first real chance.

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Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo doubles Sunderland’s lead with a stunner against Birmingham

Diallo held off a number of challenges, despite being pushed to the ground by debutant starter Jobe Bellingham, and regained his balance to feed Simms inside the box. The striker did the rest, driving an effort past Ruddy for an opener against the run of play.

Birmingham continued to create their own chances with Deeney turning to Hogan, but the nine-goal striker was denied by Anthony Patterson when he shot straight at the keeper after being played clean through.

Any Sunderland worries of more of the same to follow after half-time were extinguished in true style three minutes into the second period, when Diallo latched on to Jack Clarke’s lovely ball from well inside his own half before diving into Trusty’s challenge and curled a lovely effort wide of the far post to leave Ruddy with no chance.

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Lukas Jutkiewicz gives Birmingham hope of a comeback against Sunderland

Birmingham huffed and puffed and created a number of half-chances without testing Patterson again, until substitute Jutkiewicz took full advantage when Bailey Wright failed to clear a low cross from Emmanuel Longelo and buried it into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

The hosts threw the kitchen sink at Sunderland from then on, coming inches from an equalizer as time expired. A free kick was awarded to Jutkiewicz for centre-back Dion Sanderson, who showed the composure of a seasoned striker to bring the ball down and turn it towards goal – only for Trai Hume to deny him with a sliding block on the line.

It ended up being Birmingham’s last opportunity despite relentless late pressure on the Sunderland goal – as the visitors held on for a hard-fought three-pointer.

What the bosses said…

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Birmingham manager John Eustace believes his side did not deserve to lose to Sunderland

Birmingham manager John Eustace told Sky Sports: “It will always be a difficult game for us at the end of a tough schedule. It was important to stay in the game as long as possible but we gave away two sloppy goals which prevented us from doing that.

“I knew the impact of the substitutes would be huge tonight and they made a huge impact. We didn’t deserve to lose the game, but we gave ourselves too much to do. Thanks to Sunderland, and we’ll move on.

“We were too soft in midfield, lost too many duels, and in the end for the first goal we are out of position and the boy scores a great goal. We know all about Diallo as well, cutting in on his left foot, so it’s a disappointment too.

“It’s been really good form for us, but the lads have knocked their socks off and are exhausted after a really tough game.”

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Sunderland head coach Tony Mowbray says it’s great to get the fans excited for their trip home

Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray told Sky Sports: This season we’ve scored some great goals, played some great football and generally dominated possession without getting the rewards we feel we’ve deserved. Today was another side of the coin, having to dig in and especially late.

“We know how direct they are, 23rd for possession in the division, they don’t really care about that and get the ball in your half and ask you questions.

“I know Lukas [Jutkiewicz]I signed him a long time ago for Middlesbrough, so with him, Deeney and Hogan on it was a real problem for us – apart from the two centre-halves, and Ellis we seem to be 5ft 6in all over the pitch.

“We were hanging on a bit, but people put themselves on the line, the goalkeeping is fantastic for such a young lad, and the fact that we dug in and showed what spirit we have – and isn’t it fantastic that so many people are traveling to watch this football team? I’m happy for the team, the fans and the club.”

What comes next?

Birmingham’s first game back after the World Cup break is a trip to Blackpool on December 10; kick-off at 15:00.

Sunderland are back Sky Sports when they return to the league and host West Brom on December 12; kick-off at 20:00.

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