Stoke 2-0 Sunderland: Adam and Nzonzi hand Potters victory (video)
Stoke City won their first home game since August by beating luckless Sunderland 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
The Potters went ahead in the 28th minute after Charlie Adam bagged his second goal in as many games with a cool left-footed finish. Sunderland pushed hard but central defender Wes Brown was inexplicably sent off in the first half for an innocuous challenge on Adam on the halfway line.
Despite being down to 1o-men the Black Cats battled hard but Stoke finally wrapped up the win late on as Steven Nzonzi finished off a terrific pass from Peter Crouch. The victory was Stoke manager Mark Hughes’ 100th victory in the PL as he celebrated a much-needed three points for his side.
With the win Stoke move into 14th spot with 13 points from 12 games, while Sunderland drop to bottom of the table after Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win at Hull City.
The game began tentatively as both teams felt their way into the contest at the Britannia.
After six minutes Sunderland had the first effort on goal as Jack Colback surged forward but his left-footed effort was deflected wide of the Stoke goal.
It was the away side who kept pressing with numerous set-pieces as Stoke failed to get an early footing in the contest.
Charlie Adam nearly curled a long-range free kick into the top corner as he over-hit his cross and the ball nestled onto the roof of the net.
But the Black Cats came surging back as Steven Fletcher had an effort cleared off the line in the 12th minute after the Scotsman was played in expertly by Adam Johnson on the right. For the rest of the opening exchanges the two sides were sloppy in possession but showed plenty of attacking intent by piling forward.
And just before the half hour mark, all of that pressure lead to a Stoke opener as midfielder Nzonzi surged into the box, held the ball up well and found Adam to slot Stoke ahead. It was just the Potters second goal in five home games and sent the Britannia Stadium wild.
Following that strike Sunderland came back into the game but their progress was thrown into jeopardy in the 35th minute as Brown was bizarrely sent off. The central defender slide into a tackle on the halfway line and didn’t even touch Adam but somehow Kevin Friend brandished a red card to leave Sunderland manager Gus Poyet in disbelief as the Black Cats were handed their third red card in their last three games.
Stoke pushed for a second as half time approached but the Potters went in 1-0 up.
In the second half Sunderland switched around their formation with 10-men and despite that numerical disadvantage the Mackems surged forward on numerous occasions and put in some great long-range efforts with Phil Bardsley forcing Asmir Begovic into a smart stop in the 54th minute.
Throughout the second half Sunderland pressed forward to try and grab an unlikely equalizer and as they did so late on, Stoke dealt the hammer blow. Adam was again involved as he found striker Peter Crouch who slotted in French midfielder Nzonzi to score his second goal in 55 PL games and break the Black Cats hearts.
Stoke never looked link relinquishing their 2-0 lead after than and perhaps should have added more as Sunderland’s brave effort ran out of steam.
Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth (Wilkinson, 77), Pieters; Walters, Nzonzi, Whelan, Adam (Palacios, 82), Arnautovic; Crouch
Goals: Adam (28), Nzonzi (81)
Sunderland: Mannone, Celustka (Borini, 69), Bardsley, O’Shea, Brown, Ki, Colback, Larsson, Johnson, Giaccherini (Roberge, 40), Fletcher (Altidore, 85)
Red Card: Brown (35)