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Sunderland vs. West Bromwich Albion: Final score 2-0, Black Cats guarantee survival

Sunderland guaranteed their Premier League survival with a 2-0 win at home to West Brom on Wednesday, all but relegating Norwich City in the process.

Alex Livesey

Sunderland guaranteed Premier League survival with a 2-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday. The Black Cats netted through Jack Colback and Fabio Borini in an impressive first half, and held on for the clean sheet in the second. The result means West Brom aren't yet mathematically safe themselves, but considering their massive goal difference buffer over Norwich City, it'll almost certainly be the Canaries relegated on the final day of the season.

It took less than a quarter of an hour for Colback to fire Sunderland into the lead, and a deserved advantage it was too. The Black Cats completely dominated the opening exchanges, with only an outstanding stop by Ben Foster preventing Borini from firing them ahead even earlier than they did. When the goal did arrive five minutes later, it was the result of some excellent play from left-back Marcos Alonso; his low cross prodded in by the onrushing Colback.

Sunderland continued in the ascendency after taking the lead; controlling possession and playing with a tempo and intensity unmatched by the sluggish, imprecise Baggies. The hosts capitalized on their dominance with a second just past the half hour, courtesy of a wonderful interchange between Borini and Sebastian Larsson. The Swede chipped the ball delicately over the West Brom defense, leaving the Italian to surge forward and dispatch it past Foster with one touch.

West Brom barely had a sniff throughout the entire opening half, with only a speculative long-range effort from Saido Berahino keeping Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone on his toes.

That changed as the second half kicked off, with Pepe Mel's halftime tweaks having seemingly worked wonders. The first half possession statistics were reversed as the Baggies seized control of the match and pressed high up the pitch. They came within centimetres of halving their deficit when Craig Dawson drilled a low cross into the danger zone, though striker Victor Anichebe's outstretched foot didn't make contact.

West Brom's increased attacking threat did, however, leave them more vulnerable at the back. Sunderland should've killed the game when Borini laid off full-back Santiago Vergini in the box, though the Argentine defender dragged his shot across the face of goal and wide. Fortunately, they didn't need a third. The Baggies failed to capitalize on their improvement, with Sunderland hanging on for a 2-0 win.

Sunderland: Mannone; Alonso, Brown, O'Shea, Vergini; Colback, Cattermole (Giaccherini 88'), Larsson; Borini, Wickham (Altidore 61'), Johnson (Bridcutt 61').

Goals: Colback (13'), Borini (31').

West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Brunt, Lugano, McAuley, Reid (Dawson 46'); Morisson, Yacob (Mulumbu 46'); Dorrans, Sessegnon, Berahino (Vydra 78'); Anichebe.

Goals: None.