Match Report: Sunderland 1 – Chelsea 2
A goal in each half earned us all three points at the Stadium of Light despite a late flurry from Sunderland. Meireles making his debut and a first start for Juan Mata with Daniel Sturridge getting the nod over Fernando Torres on the bench.
The Black Cats started quite well and came close to opening the scoring when new signing Nicklas Bendtner headed Seb Larsson’s free kick just wide of the returning Petr Cech’s post after he had peeled off his marker in the 18-yard box.
We responded straight away to this threat and took the lead in the 18th minute through John Terry when he volleyed home from a tight angle after Sunderland had failed to clear their lines from a Blues free-kick when Juan Mata hit the post.
We began to get a firm grip on the game and had opportunities to double the lead through Nicolas Anelka and Ramires who saw efforts flash just over Simon Mignolet’s bar.
Only a great save from Mignolet stopped a second goal for us as he blocked a goal-bound Anelka shot to keep his team in the game.Wes Brown denied both Anelka and Sturridge on two occasions as they bore down on goal.
This hard work by the former Manchester United defender nearly paid dividends for the Black Cats as Stephane Sessegnon came close just before half-time as he forced Cech into a good save from his vicious half-volley.
We came out strongly after the break and got a deserved second goal through Daniel Sturridge who raced clear of the Sunderland defence and cheekily back-heeled past Mignolet into the net despite the best efforts of Brown to keep it out.
We were moving the ball nicely around the park and this nearly lead to a third goal for us when a failed clearance fell to substitute Florent Malouda but he was denied by a good save by Mignolet.
Sunderland were not going to give up without a fight however and nearly found a way back into the game through Bendtner as he shot on the turn but his goal-bound effort was well blocked by Branislav Ivanovic.
Steve Bruce introduced teenager Connor Wickham and his decision nearly paid off but the striker’s header looped just over the bar from Larsson’s cross.
We appeared to step off the gas a little as the game wore on but still threatened from distance with efforts from Malouda and Ramires coming close.
Sunderland tried to make it a grandstand finish as they finally found a way through the Chelsea defence in the 90th minute as Dong-Won tapped in from close range after latching onto Larsson’s cross.
However they couldn’t complete the comeback and slumped to their second home defeat of the season as we ran out deserved winners.
Next up we start our Champions League campaign in the group stages against Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Gill Reeves – CSG Disabled rep
02 Bardsley (Elmohamady 62)
06 Cattermole (Wickham 65)
14 Colback – yellow card
28 Sessegnon (Ji Dong-Won 82)
17 Bosingwa – yellow card
10 Mata (Torres 74)
23 Sturridge (Malouda 62)
39 Anelka (Romeu 79)
04 David Luiz,