Sunderland 3-1 Aston Villa: Late Defoe double gives Black Cats vital three points
Image source: Daily Mail

Two late goals from Jermain Defoe gave Sunderland AFC's survival hopes a huge boost with a crucial 3-1 victory over fellow strugglers Aston Villa.

The away side were dominant throughout the first 45 minutes with Leandro Bacuna and Jordan Veretout having good opportunities. However Sunderland managed to soak up the pressure and take the lead on the half hour mark through Patrick Van Aanholt.

Sam Allardyce’s side had a more positive start to the second period with Defoe and Van Aanholt coming close but found themselves back on level terms with Carles Gil’s 63rd minute strike.

However it was Sunderland who had the last laugh as Defoe’s 73rd minute strike and another in the 93rd gave them the vital win putting them four points from safety.

Villa’s positive start

Remi Garde’s side had a positive start to the match and had some good opportunities in the first ten minutes of game.

Bacuna had a good opportunity in the seventh minute when he cut inside after some good build-up play but his effort just went past the left-hand post.

Seconds later he dispossessed Lee Cattermole and charged towards goal before turning inside goal but once again it was just wide of the same upright.

Three minutes later Vito Mannone was called upon as Bacuna continued to cause problems, as he turned Yann M’Vila in the midfield. He then played a dangerous ball into Veretout but his volley on the stretch was brilliantly diverted away by the Italian.

Van Aanholt opens the scoring

Aston Villa were dominant throughout the first 30 minutes of the contest however it was the home side who surprisingly took the lead.

The opening goal was totally against the run of play as the ball came to Van Aanholt and the full-back’s shot from 25 yards took a huge deflection from Micah Richards which took his effort in the opposite direction of Brad Guzan.

Van Aanholt grabs the crucial first goal. (Image credit: Daily Mail)
Van Aanholt grabs the crucial first goal. (Image credit: Daily Mail)

Positive Black Cats

The start to the second period wasn’t one to remember but it was Allardyce’s side that had the first real opportunity just before the hour mark.

Defoe received the ball, and despite the protests of substitute Danny Graham for the pass, the England international went alone. A few touches managed to make a yard of space but the low effort was saved well by Guzan.

Van Aanholt nearly had a second in the 63rd minute when he did well to drive towards goal before having a go from 25 yards. It was nearly rewarded but it just fizzed past Guzan’s left-hand post.

Gil levels

The Dutchman would regret his missed opportunity almost instantly when Villa managed to equalise a minute later. It was well-deserved judged on their first half performance as Adama Traore picked up the ball in his own half and did brilliantly to make it to the byline beyond the goal scorer Van Aanholt.

He then produced an inch perfect cross for Gil to volley into the top right-hand corner, giving Mannone no chance.

The home side pushed to get themselves back ahead and nearly did in the 71st minute when Adam Johnson’s second attempted cross looked destined for Fabio Borini but the Italian just couldn't make clean contact.

Defoe secures the win

After coming so close only moments earlier they managed to secure a crucial three points when they took the lead once again. The home side responded well after Villa got themselves back in the match and were rewarded when Defoe managed to turn to face goal. He was able to place his effort in at the near post to send the Stadium of Light into a frenzy.

Sunderland’s first win in six league matches was sealed in extra-time when Defoe got his second of the match. It was substitute Ola Toivonen who led the attack and managed to make it into a goalscoring position, but the Swede unselfishly played it Defoe who smashed home in at the near post from to secure the win.

Defoe was seemingly robbed off a hat-trick right at the end when a howler from a Guzan allowed him to slip it into an empty net but the flag was risen. Replays showed that might not have been the case, but the striker had done enough to give his side a crucial victory.