Report: Cardiff City 0-1 Sunderland AFC

Cardiff City 0-1 Sunderland AFC

Sunderland produced a dominant performance in South Wales to beat Cardiff City 1-0 in Sky Bet Championship.

After a goalless first half, Dennis Cirkin scored the decisive goal of the game on the hour mark to seal all three points for the Black Cats.

Sunderland monopolised possession in the early exchanges of the match, Pierre Ekwah coming close early on but blazed his shot over after some neat build-up play from Lynden Gooch and Amad down the right-hand side.

Dan Neil was next to have an attempt at goal but the midfielder’s shot from 20 yards out failed to force Ryan Allsop into a save.

The Black Cats continued to pile pressure on the home team, firstly Gooch cut inside and forced a corner after his strike deflected wide. Pritchard’s delivery was then met by captain Danny Batth but the defender's header sailed over Allsop’s goal.

The linesman's flag kept the scores level after Jack Clarke broke free inside the Cardiff box, heading Pritchard's cross beyond Allsop but the winger was judged to have been a yard offside.

Cardiff came close to breaking the deadlock four minutes after the interval when substitutes Jack Simpson and Kion Etete combined well but Anthony Patterson was alert to push Etete’s shot away from danger.

Sunderland deservedly took the lead on 59 minutes when Clarke was fouled by Perry Ng on the edge of the box. Pritchard’s whipped free-kick beat Allsop but not his near post with the rebound falling kindly to Cirkin for a simple tap-in.

The visitors almost grabbed their second goal of the afternoon when Amad drifted past his man before being clipped as he was advancing towards goal – the resulting free-kick had Allsop scrambling to his right.

Tony Mowbray’s side continued to find openings in the final few minutes both Amad and Joe Gelhardt coming close to doubling Sunderland’s lead.

The Lads held firm to claim victory and their 13th clean sheet of the season, moving the Black Cats to within four points of the play-offs.

Sunderland XI: Patterson, Gooch, Batth ©, Hume, Cirkin, Neil, Ekwah (Michut 71’), Pritchard (Gelhardt 79’), Ba (Roberts 71’), Amad, Clarke.

Substitutes: Bass, Lihadji, Anderson, Taylor.

Cardiff City XI: Allsop, McGuinness, Ng, Kipre, Romeo (Davies 79’), Ojo (Simpson 35’), Sawyers (Ralls 61’), Wintle ©, Philogene (Rinomhota 35’), Wickham (Etete 46), Kaba.

Substitutes: Alnwick, Harris.

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