Reyna scores twice to seal win.
Sunderland 2 Leicester City 1
1st April 2002
Claudio Reyna’s first-half double strike heaped the pressure on bottom of the table Leicester City.
The American international struck with two superb long-range efforts inside the opening 17 minutes to lift Peter Reid's side six points above the bottom three.
Paul Dickov replied for the Foxes and almost salvaged a point as the home side were made to hang on for a priceless victory.
The Black Cats got off to the perfect start in the third minute when Reyna found space 20 yards out to rifle a left-footed shot into the top corner.
Leicester replied within minutes, though, as Stefan Oakes' delivery was met powerfully by Scottish centre-half Matt Elliott. Though his header already appeared to have crossed the line after initially being tipped onto a post by Thomas Sorensen, Dickov made sure by bundling the ball over the line.
Sunderland regained the advantage just after the quarter-hour as Muzzy Izzet brought down Phillips on the edge of the Leicester area, and Reyna stepped up to dispatch the free-kick into the top corner past a flailing Ian Walker.
That lead could have been doubled on the half-hour Kevin Kilbane intercepted Frank Sinclair's poor pass and raced past Lee Marshall before firing in a shot that Walker parried away.
Then Walker denied a superb Phillips effort, while Reyna was unfortunate not to complete a first-half hat-trick as his 42nd-minute volley smashed against a post.
Leicester ensured some nail-biting moments as they sought an equaliser, Sorensen denying Dickov with an excellent stop in the final 15 minutes.
Sunderland: Sorensen, Gray, Craddock, Bjorklund, Williams, Kilbane, Reyna (Thirlwell, 85), McCann, McAteer, Phillips, Quinn.
Subs not used: Macho, McCartney, Butler, Mboma.