English Premiership

Defoe treble boosts Sunderland's survival bid

Jermain Defoe (Getty Images)
Jermain Defoe (Getty Images)

Swansea - Jermain Defoe hit a crucial hat-trick as Sunderland boosted their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League with a 4-2 victory at fellow strugglers Swansea on Wednesday.

Defoe's first Premier League treble since November 2009 gave Sunderland their second successive league win and first at Swansea since November 1963.

Sam Allardyce's side remain in the relegation zone, but they are now only one point and one place behind Swansea, whose misery continues with a third successive defeat in all competitions.

In a contentious encounter at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea played over half the match with 10 men following Kyle Naughton's controversial red card.

Defoe had given Sunderland the lead, then Gylfi Sigurdsson's dubious penalty levelled.

Andre Ayew put Swansea ahead after Naughton's dismissal, but Patrick Van Aanholt equalised to set the stage for Defoe's heroics in Allardyce's 450th match as a Premier League match.

After being dumped out of the FA Cup with a shock third round defeat at fourth tier Oxford on Sunday, Swansea desperately needed a strong start.

But it was Sunderland who seized the initiative thanks to a mistake by Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in the third minute.

Fabianski's woeful goal kick only reached Adam Johnson and he picked out Fabio Borini, whose low shot was pushed weakly out by Fabianski for Defoe, ignoring Swansea's offside appeals, to claim his 10th goal of the season with a close-range finish.

When Ayew tricked his way past Wes Brown into the penalty area in the 21st minute, the forward appeared to stumble over his own feet as he prepared to shoot.

Much to the disgust of Allardyce, referee Graham Scott decided Brown had fouled Ayew and awarded a penalty which Sigurdsson coolly converted.

If Allardyce was aggrieved by that controversial decision, he was much happier in the 37th minute when Scott sent off Naughton for a foul on Yann M'Vila.

Naughton's foot was high, but he clearly got the ball and this time it was Swansea's turn to complain.

The hosts initially coped well with 10 men and when a long punt by Fabianski found Ayew, the Ghana winger accelerated away from Brown before blasting into the far corner.

But Sunderland drew level four minutes into the second half through Dutch defender Van Aanholt, whose powerful drive took a deflection before crashing in off a post.

In the 61st minute, Johnson had time and space on the halfway line to thread a ball towards Defoe, who sprinted clear of Swansea's defenders as they appealed for offside before slotting past Fabianski.

Swansea's fury was mounting and there were more protests by the home team when Angel Rangel turned the ball in after a mistake by Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone, only to see his effort ruled out for offside.

Defoe made them pay when he completed his treble in the 85th minute to seal the points.

Mon 21 Sep 20 19:00 PM (SAST)
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