Sunderland v Middlesbrough

Sunderland 2 Middlesbrough 0

Michael Chopra was Sunderland's lucky charm as they recorded a second successive home win over Middlesbrough.

Chopra came off the bench to inspire the Black Cats to a first win at the Stadium of Light this season, but it could easily have been a different story.

Craig Gordon had made three good saves to deny Middlesbrough by the time the Teessiders were awarded a penalty in the 74th minute.

Stewart Downing, who spent a short time on loan with Sunderland four years ago, stepped up to blast the spot-kick over the bar.

It was the turning point. The miss lifted the home side who went ahead six minutes later.

Keane admitted afterwards that his side had enjoyed a slice of luck. "I take my hat off to Boro, they are a good team," he said. "I've been lucky in my three games against them."

Chopra had not featured for Sunderland since the opening day of the season after being handed a three-game ban for a red-card in a pre-season game.

But he came back with a bang, firing two goals in 10 minutes to earn Sunderland the derby honours.

The first goal was made by Kieran Richardson who slotted a pass into the striker's path and he delayed a shot before steering it past the oncoming Ross Turnbull.

The second, in injury time, was an easier finish for Chopra who had the job of placing a shot into an empty net after some unselfish work by Steed Malbranque, the Frenchman who was behind most of Sunderland's good work.

Chopra could have completed a second-half hat-trick - only a good save by Ross Turnbull in the 84th minute denied the striker a headed goal.

This was Sunderland's first win at the Stadium of Light this season and also the first goals here since Boro's last visit Wearside in April.

Middlesbrough could not believe it when Gordon kept out Downing's close-range shot in the first half and the Scot also saved well from Alfonso Alves.

The game did not come to life until the second half, certainly from Sunderland's point of view, as it was the visitors who looked the better side in the opening stages.

Chopra appeared just before half-time, replacing the injured Teemu Tainiuo, and the ex-Cardiff man helped turn the tide in Sunderland's favour.

It was an important win for the Black Cats as their next two games are at Aston Villa and against Arsenal here in a fortnight.