Glenn Murray and Yannick Bolasie combined for three goals in six minutes just after halftime and Crystal Palace stunned Sunderland at the Stadium of Light to push Alan Pardew’s squad on the verge of the table’s top half.
Bolasie would finish with a hat-trick and Alan Pardew grabbed his ninth win in charge of Crystal Palace since taking over just after the new year, and his sixth on the road.
Sunderland began brightly, causing problems for the Palace back line but the visitors built themselves into the game by the 15th minute. A failed Sunderland clearance fell to Jack Rodwell, but a heavy touch from the former Manchester City midfielder lost control of the ball. James McCarthy came rushing onto the ball and Rodwell came flying in to win the ball back, lucky to get off with just a yellow card after going airborne to topple McCarthy and wearing a relieved expression after seeing just the caution from Anthony Taylor’s pocket.
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Scott Dann then went into the book confusingly as he went for a loose ball in the box and got his boot to Kasper Schmeichel’s face and left the goalkeeper with a mouth full of blood. The persistent fouling continued past the half-hour mark, and Lee Cattermole got himself a customary first-half caution before Pape Souare went down under a Billy Jones challenge and could not continue, forcing Pardew into an early change.
Palace had an opportunity as Yannick Bolaise was sprung and got off a dangerous pull-back two-on-one but no one was waiting in the middle of the box. Sunderland had a similar opportunity on the other end as Jones whipped in a savory cross looking for Steven Fletcher but Dann stopped the danger full-stretch before it reached its target.
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Just three minutes after halftime, Crystal Palace managed to capitalize on its pressure. A fantastic move on the right edge of the box got Bolaise free, and he whipped a pinpoint cross to the back post and found Glenn Murray unmarked and the 31-year-old headed home. Sunderland complained for offsides but replays showed Murray’s position was legal.
With Sunderland reeling from the first goal, Palace shocked them for a second the other way around. A long ball for Murray found its mark, and the goalscorer touched to Bolasie who beat Santiago Vergini and touched home for a 2-0 lead. Then the floodgates opened. Yet another long ball pumped forward and got past John O’Shea, and Bolasie powered his way past the defender to reach the ball. He finished with a luscious chip over Pantillimon for a third goal in six minutes.
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A stunned Sunderland had little answer, and Bolasie would get his hat-trick when he powered through a pair of defenders as well as Pantillimon to pick up a loose ball in the box and touch it home for Palace’s fourth. James McArthur nearly had a fifth minutes later but Pantillimon made a diving stop to keep him out.
Sunderland would break the clean sheet with just a minute left in regulation through Connor Wickham, but it would finish a resounding victory for Pardew and company, as Palace went into the top half of the table for a moment, before Stoke City picked up a late equalizer and put the Eagles back into 11th. Palace also climbed back to an even zero goal differential with the blowout win, although Sunderland’s late goal put them back to -1. Sunderland, meanwhile, failed to build on last week’s momentum and the Black Cats remain just three points ahead of the drop.
Sunderland: Pantilimon, O’Shea, Vergini, Jones, van Aanholt, Cattermole (Bridcutt 65′), Gomez (Johnson 59′), Rodwell, Fletcher, Wickham, Defoe.
Goals – Wickham 90′
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare (Kelly 35′); Bolasie (Sanogo 70′), McArthur (Ledley 69′), Jedinak, Zaha; Puncheon; Murray.
Goals – Murray 48′; Bolasie 52′, 54′, 62′