Sunderland 0 Norwich 0

Published:
by Stuart Vose

All square at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland and Norwich took a point apiece as a tight game ended goalless at the Stadium of Light.

Both sides created opportunities without breaking through, with Wes Brown coming close for the hosts when he headed against the post in the second half before being sent off late on.

Meanwhile Vito Mannone produced several good saves to deny Norwich – particularly a flying first-half stop to keep out Gary Hooper’s drive.

Ki Sung-Yueng also came close with a lob from distance late on, but it wasn’t to be as the sides shared the spoils.

Ki and Fabio Borini both returned to the starting line-up after scoring as substitutes against Chelsea in midweek, with the pair replacing Craig Gardner and Adam Johnson.

Meanwhile Phil Bardsley also won a recall ahead of Andrea Dossena as Gus Poyet mixed things up following the 120-minute cup outing against the Blues.

Bardsley and his defensive colleagues had some work to do early on, with Hooper pulling a neat ball across goal only to see the delivery flash across the box and away.

And Mannone made a good early save 13 minutes in, tipping away Nathan Redmond’s drive down low at his near post.

City pressed with Mannone fielding a shot which deflected off Johan Elmander before the Swede headed straight at the Sunderland keeper.

But Sunderland showed spirit to gradually wrestle the initiative away from the visitors.

Bardsley won a crunching challenge with Leroy Fer just outside the box and fed Seb Larsson, who fired over the top from 25 yards.

And the Swede had another pop on the 25-minute mark, this time blasting a low drive just past the far post after the hosts had moved the ball well on the edge of the box.

Another effort from distance – this time from Lee Cattermole – flashed off-target as the home side began to build some momentum.

Ki engineered a good chance when he broke quickly through the middle before slipping the ball right to Borini, whose shot on the run fizzed wide.

Meanwhile Jozy Altidore saw a blast from 14 yards deflected behind by the sprawling Michael Turner after a free-kick was headed back across goal before Bardsley tested John Ruddy with a low drive which the keeper gathered at his near post.

But Norwich remained a threat going forward and Sunderland were grateful to an excellent save from Mannone five minutes before the break – the Italian flinging himself to his right to tip away Hooper’s rising drive.

The first half ended with action at both ends, with Ruddy hanging on to Emanuele Giaccherini’s shot before Mannone did likewise at the other end to stop Fer placed drive from the edge of the box.

Chances were at a premium in the early stages of the second half barring a shot from Norwich defender Steven Whittaker which skidded wide just before the hour.

Poyet looked to shake things up by introducing Johnson off the bench in place of Giaccherini, and Sunderland's head coach then saw Borini come close when he poked a low effort at Ruddy after Whittaker and Turner got in a tangle on the edge of the box.

Steven Fletcher then joined the action in place of Altidore after Hooper had headed a Robert Snodgrass cross weakly wide from a good position.

The hosts almost nudged in front with 20 minute remaining when a corner was sliced into the air by Turner and Brown headed against the outside of the post from close range in the ensuing scramble.

Sunderland continued to get men forward but couldn’t find a way through with Norwich defending in numbers.

Bardsley headed at Ruddy from Johnson’s flighted cross, while Mannone made a good save to deny Ricky van Wolfswinkel at the other end.

But the hosts’ best chance of the closing stages fell to Ki, who was inches away from converting with eight minutes left.

Ruddy raced well clear of his goal to chase Borini into the corner and the ball was eventually worked back to the Korean, who lofted a shot towards goal from distance only to see the effort land on the roof of the net with Norwich defenders scrambling back.

The Black Cats pushed late on but ended the game with 10 men after Brown was sent off deep into injury time for a sliding challenge on van Wolfswinkel near the touchline.

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Team Sheet

Mannone
25
Red Brown
5
Bardsley
2
O'Shea
16
Celustka
12
Yellow Larsson (Roberge)
7
Ki
4
Cattermole
33
Altidore (Fletcher)
17
Yellow Borini
31
Giaccherini (Johnson)
23
Ruddy
1
Turner
6
Olsson
23
Whittaker Yellow
3
Bassong Nguena
5
Johnson
4
Fer
10
Snodgrass
7
Redmond
22
Elmander (van Wolfswinkel)
16
Hooper
11

Substitutes

Colback
14
Johnson
11
Gardner
8
Dossena
3
Fletcher
9
Roberge
29
Pickford
13
Becchio
19
Bunn
13
Murphy
31
van Wolfswinkel
9
Hoolahan
14
Garrido
18
Bennett
24