Sunderland beat 10-man Southampton 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, as two penalty kicks from Jordi Gomez did the damage.
[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]
Gomez scored a spot kick in the first half but Sadio Mane popped up 74 seconds later to equalize for Saints. Less than 10 minutes into the second half James Ward-Prowse was sent off for fouling Jermain Defoe in the box and Gomez stepped up to secure the win despite a late rally from Saints.
With the victory Dick Advocaat’s side remain in 18th but are just a point from safety, while Saints are in seventh and are now four points off fifth place.
[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]
After an even start Sunderland went ahead as Danny Graham was scissor kicked in the face by Jose Fonte and referee Mike Jones pointed to the spot. Gomez stepped up and slotted home past Kelvin Davis to make it 1-0 to the home side after a bright start.
Moments later it was 1-1 as Fonte’s long ball forward saw Costel Pantilimon come rushing out of hos goal but the Romanian goalkeeper was clattered into by his own defender, John O’Shea, and the loose ball fell to Mane who swept home his seventh goal of the season. 1-1 and less than a minute had passed between the two strikes.
As the first half wore on, Sunderland looked more likely to take the lead as Patrick van Aanholt pulled back a great ball to the penalty spot but Connor Wickham sidefooted his effort over. Graziano Pelle headed a chance over after Ryan Bertrand’s cross from the left for Saints but Kelvin Davis was forced into two saves from Wickham and Sebastian Larsson before the break as the Black Cats piled on the pressure.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
In the second half Saints missed a good chance as half time substitute Filip Djuricic should have done better. In the 55th minute a moment that changed the game arrived as Ward-Prowse was sent off for appearing to take down Jermain Defoe and Saints’ midfielder was sent off.
Gomez stepped up and scored his second spot kick of the match to make it 2-1, but on second viewing it appeared harsh on Ward-Prowse, and Saints, to give the penalty and Ronald Koeman was livid with the referee. Mane was replaced by Eljero Elia in the second half and Saints pushed hard to find an equalizer but Jack Rodwell could have wrapped the game up for Sunderland but squandered a great chance.
For Saints, Djuricic saw his effort from close range blocked and late on Steven Davis saw his effort brilliantly saved by Pantilimon as Sunderland held on for the win.
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Larsson (Rodwell, 82′), Wickham, Gomez, O’Shea (Vergini, 31′), Graham, Coates, Defoe (Johnson, 82′)
Goals: (Gomez 21′, 55′)
Southampton: K. Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Alderweireld, Wanyama (Davis, 66′), Ward-Prowse, Long (Djuricic, 45′), Mane (Elia, 70′), Pelle
Goal: Mane (22′)