Thursday, April 25, 2024

Ronald at the double as Swansea dent Sunderland’s play-off aspirations

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Feb 2024

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January signing Ronald scored a first-half double for Swansea as Mike Dodds’ first game as Sunderland’s interim boss ended in a 2-1 defeat.

Dodds impressively led the Black Cats to two wins from three games during a stint in charge in December after Tony Mowbray’s dismissal and was handed the reins until the end of the season after Michael Beale’s sacking earlier this week.

But the home side were outplayed by Swansea, who eased their relegation woes with a deserved win that moved Luke Williams’ side four points clear of the drop zone.

The visitors could have been out of sight after a one-sided first-half display but Ronald’s double – the 22-year-old’s first goals since joining from Gremio in January – was enough as Swansea got back to winning ways after two home defeats.

Luke O’Nien gave Sunderland hope late in the second half but the Black Cats couldn’t force a leveller. The Black Cats have now lost three games on the bounce and their play-off hopes are fading fast.

Swansea headed for Wearside having won only one of their previous seven Championship games but threatened to run riot in a dominant first half, with Ronald’s quickfire double putting the visitors in complete control.

The Brazilian opened his account after 19 minutes when he was on hand to tap in a rebound after Anthony Patterson initially kept out a Liam Cullen header.

His second was a superb finish, taking down Joe Allen’s through ball with a neat first touch before lashing low beyond Patterson.

It could have been much worse for the hosts.

Ronald fired wide at full stretch after a sublime Allen pass and fellow winger Przemyslaw Placheta could have had a hat-trick himself.

He somehow blazed over from just six yards, hit the post with a close-range header and had a shot from the edge of the area deflected just wide.

At the other end, Sunderland offered next to nothing, their only two shots on target in the first half being tame Abdoullah Ba and Nazariy Rusyn efforts that were easily saved by Carl Rushworth.

There was a bit more purpose to the home side’s play early in the second half and Pierre Ekwah went close with a curling strike from distance that shaved the top of the crossbar before Ba flashed a dangerous drive across the face of goal.

Sunderland halved the deficit 13 minutes from time when O’Nien headed in an Ekwah cross from the left.

They almost levelled in dramatic circumstances when Patterson went up for a corner and forced a superb save by Rushworth deep in stoppage time.

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