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Sunderland 1 Norwich City 3: Neil´s men expose sorry hosts

SoccerNews in English Premier League 15 Aug 2015

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Norwich City ruthlessly exposed Sunderland’s defensive frailties as they ran out comfortable 3-1 winners at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Sunderland were put to the sword in a 4-2 defeat in last weekend’s Premier League opener against Leicester City.

And Dick Advocaat’s men were all at sea again at the back in front of their home supporters, as Norwich deservedly celebrated a first win since returning to the top flight.

Captain Russell Martin knew little about the opening goal as he bundled home, but there was no fortune about Steven Whittaker making it 2-0 – the full-back finishing a well-crafted move.

Nathan Redmond – rewarded with a start after making a positive impact off the bench in last week’s 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace – then scored his second goal in as many league games just shy of the hour.

Substitute Duncan Watmore netted a late goal for Sunderland but it was little consolation on another dismal afternoon for the Black Cats.

Alex Neil’s side can now look forward to next weekend’s contest against Stoke City with optimism, but Advocaat has much to ponder ahead of Swansea City’s trip to Wearside.

After a cagey opening, Norwich began to enjoy a spell of possession and Costel Pantilimon made a terrific save low to his left to keep out Jonny Howson’s edge-of-the-box drive.

But from the resulting corner Norwich broke the deadlock in the 26th minute.

Robbie Brady worked a smart set-piece before hitting a stinging drive at Pantilimon, whose parry rebounded off Martin and trickled into the goal. 

It got worse for Sunderland in the 37th minute as Norwich carved open their fragile defence again.

Whittaker played a neat one-two with Wes Hoolahan on the right of the area and shrugged off Patrick van Aanholt’s weak challenge before drilling into the far corner.

Steven Fletcher – one of two changes to Sunderland’s XI from the Leicester loss – had the chance to halve the deficit shortly before the break but he headed Jermain Defoe’s cross wide from eight yards.

Sunderland needed a quick start to the second half and Younes Kaboul should have provided it but he somehow headed Lens’ corner back towards the corner flag from six yards.

Norwich duly punished that miss by putting the game beyond doubt in the 57th minute.

Redmond combined well with Hoolahan and passed a shot low inside Pantilimon’s near left-hand post.

That goal promptly saw several hundred home supporters make a hasty exit, while those that stayed behind chanted “are you watching Ellis Short?”, referencing their desire for the chairman to invest in new recruits.

Sunderland’s Billy Jones then went tumbling in the area, but referee Kevin Friend judged there was no contact from Brady.

The only cheer from the home fans was for the introduction of 21-year-old Watmore and he marked a lively Premier League debut with a goal two minutes from time, scuffing low into the bottom left-hand corner after Norwich failed to clear Lens’ free-kick.

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