Norwich City 0 Sunderland 3
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's Premier League survival hopes suffered a crushing blow in a 3-0 defeat to relegation rivals Sunderland at Carrow Road.
The Black Cats' moved within a point of Alex Neil's men with a game in hand after cashing in on defensive charity from the hosts in a weak surrender. Fabio Borini slotted a first half penalty after Andre Wisdom lunged in on the Italian before Seb Bassong was robbed to trigger a move that saw Jermain Defoe slot home at the far post. Wisdom was forced to limp off in the final minute as Norwich finished with 10 men, after making all their three substitutions, and Duncan Watmore completed the rout in stoppage time.
Bassong replaced the injured Timm Klose (knee) in the one change to Norwich's starting line up from last weekend's 1-0 Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace. Captain Russell Martin was again a notable omission from the matchday squad with Ivo Pinto the only recognised defender on the home substitutes' bench.
Sam Allardyce named an unchanged starting line up from last weekend's 2-0 home loss to title-challenging Leicester City.
Steven Naismith was crudely upended by Yann M'Vila inside the opening two minutes to present Norwich with an inviting free kick chance but Ryan Bennett was penalised for being in an offside position inside the Sunderland six yard box from Gary O'Neil's set piece.
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The intense occasion spilled over in the fifth minute when Robbie Brady's shove on DeAndre Yedlin sparked a melee in front of the Sunderland dugout, with even Allardyce barging substitute Cameron Jerome out of the way before order was restored.
Brady's deep free kick picked out the unmarked Jonny Howson but his shot cannoned against a Black Cats' defender before Brady's instinctive low shot on the turn was gathered by Vito Mannone.
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Jan Kirchhoff found a pocket of space once the frenetic pace subsided but over-hit his intended pass for Borini.
Brady's deep cross on the run tempted Dieumerci Mbokani, who climbed above Younes Kaboul but the close range header lacked the power to test Mannone.
Kirchhoff was fortunate to escape a booking for a lunge from behind on Naismith but O'Neil's free kick aiming for the Scottish international was too deep and collected by the Sunderland stopper.
The visitors fashioned their first real threat in the 18th minute when Kirchhoff beat Bassong in the air to a flick that Borini whipped across John Ruddy's far post with the sliding Defoe sensing a chance inside the six yard box.
Defoe then raced in behind Bennett and beat the advancing Ruddy to the ball but Howson was back in time to cut out his low cross as the City keeper raced back into his goalmouth.
Mannone needed all his reflexes to deflect Kaboul's sliced near post clearance in the 26th minute from Brady's low cross. From the corner Martin Olsson unleashed a long range thunderbolt Mannone tipped over.
Whabi Khazri was the first culprit into the book with a nasty foot planted across the top of O'Neil's right ankle.
Norwich's desire to play across the backline was nearly their undoing in the 35th minute when Lee Cattermole's sliding attempt spiralled over from Borini's cross after Norwich coughed up cheap possession.
City's defensive vulnerability was exposed in the 41st minute when Defoe raced clear to pick out Borini who chested the ball at the far post but was caught by the lunging Wisdom.
Referee Marriner pointed to the spot and the Italian buried his penalty low into the bottom right-hand corner past Ruddy's dive.
Both managers made a half-time change with Nathan Redmond replacing Brady and Jarvis switching to the opposite flank. Sunderland replied with the livewire Watmore on for Khazri.
Redmond's first foray earned a corner for the hosts after a clever trick to lose Defoe down the right flank but O'Neil's delivery was cleared.
Redmond then lashed a low shot against the base of Mannone's right-hand post from 25 yards after veering into a central position.
Bassong accepted the invitation to roam forward but his left-footed thump was always rising over the bar. But the centre back was punished for failing to clear his lines in the 53rd minute, to spark Sunderland's second goal, when Kirchhoff robbed the centre back to feed the overlapping Borini who picked out Defoe to guide a close range shot home at the far post.
Redmond's free kick picked out the unmarked Naismith but the Scot was on the way down as he met the ball with Norwich trying to reply swiftly to the fresh hammer blow.
Wes Hoolahan replaced Jarvis in the 59th minute as the Canaries strived for a lifeline. Mbokani went down under Kaboul's robust challenge inside the Sunderland penalty area but Marriner waved away home appeals.
Wisdom's intended cross had Mannone back-pedalling to tip over with plenty of yellows shirts in the box. Cattermole hacked Mbokani's flick off his line in the 63rd minute after Bassong and Naismith had won a bout of head tennis but the striker's shot, in truth, lacked the venom to roll over the line.
The Sunderland skipper then headed Mbokani's follow-up off his line for the second time in the space of a few seconds before Hoolahan's drilled effort was scrambled behind.
Norwich's commitment to attack left them inevitably exposed at the opposite end with Watmore bursting free but unable to pick the right pass for the lurking Defoe.
Neil made his final change in the 74th minute with Jerome replacing Naismith. Norwich survived again when Defoe held off Bennett to roll in Watmore but the youngster ran the ball out of play after veering around Ruddy.
Hoolahan's quick-thinking on a free kick created another chance for Redmond but Mannone was again his equal to tip over the shot from 20-yards.
Norwich had the latest a series of penalty appeals turned down in the 82nd minute when Cattermole eased Bassong under the ball but referee Marriner was happy for play to continue. Hoolahan then fed in Jerome but the substitute lifted over before O'Neil followed suit.
Norwich's afternoon deteriorated further when Wisdom was forced to depart a minute from the end of normal time after a block challenge to leave City down to 10.
And Sunderland capitalised when Watmore latched onto Seb Larsson's ball to round Ruddy and slot a third in the first minute of added on time to spark a mass exodus among the dejected home support.
• Sunderland: Mannone, Yedlin, van Aanholt, Kaboul, Kone, Kirchhoff (O'Shea 85), M'Vila (Larsson 67), Cattermole, Borini, Khazri (Watmore 45), Defoe. Subs (not used): Pickford, Jones, Toivonen, N'Doye.
• Bookings: Khazri (foul on O'Neil 32); Cattermole (foul on O'Neil, 58)
• Goals: Borini (41), Defoe (53), Watmore (90+1)
• Norwich City: Ruddy; Wisdom, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson, Jarvis (Hoolahan 59), Howson, O'Neil, Brady (Redmond 45), Naismith (Jerome 74), Mbokani. Subs (not used): Rudd, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Pinto.
• Bookings: Wisdom (foul on Borini, 41); Olsson (foul on Borini, 59)
• Added on time: 2 minutes / 4 minutes
• Referee: Andre Marriner (West Mids)
• Attendance: 27,117