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Sunderland 2-0 Burnley: Defoe strikes as Black Cats win 6-point battle


Jermain Defoe (R) celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Burnley at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on January 31, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN MACNICOL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

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Sunderland picked up three big points in its relegation scrap with Burnley, who will be breathing a bit easier with the knowledge that everyone below them lost as well.

Jermain Defoe scored his first goal for Sunderland, and Connor Wickham also scored. The game was a lot tighter than the score line indicated, but finishing is a big deal and the Black Cats did just that.

Sunderland now has four points breathing room from the drop zone, and three points space from Burnley. The Clarets remain in 17th thanks to losses from QPR, Hull City and Leicester City.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

The Black Cats roared out of the gate, and put a normally-stingy Burnley side to the sword in the 20th minute when Wickham rose to head home Anthony Réveillere’s brilliant cross.

Patrick van Aanholt then turned provider to make it 2-0, sliding the ball to Defoe for his first finish as a Black Cat.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Burnley had the better of attempts and shots on frame, but never found its final touch. Sean Dyche’s plucky squad will rue its missed chances on the road.


Sunderland: Pantilimon, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Vergini, Reveillere, Bridcutt, Larsson, Gomez, Wickham (Graham, 76'), Johnson, Defoe (Fletcher, 75')

Goals: Wickham (20'), Defoe (34')

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell (c), Mee; Boyd (Wallace, 60'), Marney, Jones, Arfield; Barnes (Vokes, 76'), Ings (Jutkiewicz, 61').

Follow @NicholasMendola