Nine-man Black Cats defeated at KC Stadium.
A Carlos Cuellar own goal saw nine-man Sunderland narrowly defeated at Hull.
The defender inadvertently headed into his own net from close range on 25 minutes as the hosts took the lead before the complexion of the game changed just before the break.
Two red cards in first-half injury time for Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena meant the visitors faced a tough assignment in the second period.
Sunderland had already lost goalkeeper Keiren Westwood to injury late in the half – the stopper substituted with a head injury after coming off worst in a clash with Paul McShane.
But the Black Cats battled away despite their two-man disadvantage after head coach Gus Poyet made two decisive substitutions at half time and switched to three at the back.
Indeed they created some chances, with Adam Johnson - on at the break - denied by a key save from Steve Harper in the home goal.
Meanwhile Westwood’s replacement, Vito Mannone, made several good saves while Hull also struck a post in the second half.
Poyet opted for a single change ahead of the game with Fabio Borini stepping in for Johnson, who dropped to the bench.
He also made a change tactically, opting for an attacking 4-3-3 formation with Borini and former Hull man Jozy Altidore operating alongside Steven Fletcher.
City, meanwhile, featured ex-Black Cats McShane, Ahmed Elmohamady and David Meyler in their line-up – the latter in as a late replacement after Sone Aluko was injured in the warm-up.
And the Tigers started the better as Yannick Sagbo narrowly failed to connect with a cross at close range before Tom Huddlestone’s free-kick flashed through a crowd of players and just past the far post.
However, Steve Bruce’s side took the lead on 25 minutes when a throw-in down by the corner flag led the ball being whipped in to the near post, where Cuellar deflected the ball past his own keeper under pressure from Sagbo.
Sunderland then lost keeper Westwood, who required extensive treatment following a collision with McShane as he bravely cleared a dangerous free-kick into the box. Having initially opted to continue, the Irishman then required further attention and was replaced 43 minutes in by Mannone, featuring against his former club.
Five minutes of injury time were indicated at the end of the first period – and the visitors found themselves down to nine men by the time the half-time whistle blew.
First Cattermole was dismissed for a sliding challenge on Elmohamady before Dossena joined him for a foul on Meyler.
Forced into action, Poyet used his remaining two subs at the break, replacing Altidore and Borini with the returning Wes Brown and Johnson, while changing to a 3-4-1 with Fletcher on his own up front.
His side faced a real test as Hull looked to make the most of their numerical advantage.
George Boyd drilled a low angled shot beyond the far post while Mannone pulled off an excellent save to deny Jake Livermore just before the hour, diving full stretch to his left to claim brilliantly.
But Sunderland, battling against the odds and with a noisy away support behind them, didn’t collapse.
Indeed they began to generate opportunities with Johnson firing wide from just outside the box before Larsson struck a free-kick past the post.
And the Swede came close again 14 minutes from time, hitting a loose ball on the run from just outside the box only to fire wide of Harper’s right-hand post.
The visitors’ best opportunity came just minutes later as Johnson almost scored what would have been a sensational equaliser.
The winger managed to wriggle beyond the Hull defence to meet a through ball and got a powerful shot away, but Harper was equal to the effort and threw his body in the way to block.
That was Sunderland’s best chance as Hull sniffed a second goal, with Huddlestone’s rising drive beaten out by Mannone at his near post.
The Italian keeper then saw Livermore’s drive strike the post and fall right to sub Nick Proschwitz, who couldn’t get the ball under control.
Sunderland gave the hosts one final scare late on when Phil Bardsley blasted just wide after a set-piece was half-cleared, but a late comeback wasn’t to be as the Tigers held on to their slender advantage.
- Rosenior (Proschwitz)
- Yellow Figueroa
- Meyler (Koren)
- Boyd (Brady)
- Westwood (Mannone)
- Dossena Red
- Cattermole Red
- Borini (Brown)
- Altidore (Johnson)
- Yellow Brady