Norwich beat Sunderland 2-1 yesterday to extend its unbeaten run in English soccer’s Premier League to eight matches. The Canaries climb to 12th in the standings.
Sebastien Bassong and Anthony Pilkington scored for the hosts at their Carrow Road stadium, with Craig Gardner getting the only goal for Sunderland, which remains 17th.
Norwich has won four and tied four of its last eight games after opening the season with a seven-game winless run in the league. Sunderland now has one victory in its last nine league matches.
“It’s a massive win for us,” Pilkington told Sky Sports. “We’re going in the right direction and this is a great place to be at the moment.”
Norwich is tied with Liverpool on 19 points after 15 games, although the Reds have a superior goal difference. Sunderland, with 13 points, is one point above the relegation positions.
Manchester United tops the Premier League after the weekend’s matches with 36 points following a 4-3 win at Reading two days ago. Manchester City was held to a 1-1 tie by Everton and is three points back.
Norwich got the opening goal after eight minutes, with Bassong getting the final touch on a Robert Snodgrass free kick. It was the Cameroon defender’s second goal in three games.
Danny Rose had one of Sunderland’s first opportunities after 28 minutes with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area that was easily saved by goalkeeper Mark Bunn.
The home team doubled its lead after 37 minutes. Pilkington collected a long pass from Bradley Johnson, cut inside a defender and struck a low shot into the far corner of the net.
Sunderland replied just before halftime with a 20-yard effort from Gardner. Bunn got the tips of his fingers to the shot, but was unable to keep it out.
The visitors provided more attacking threats after the interval, while Norwich also had chances to increase its advantage.
Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet tipped away a Pilkington shot in the 57th minute, then at the other end of the field Gardner hit a post from a free kick with Matt Kilgallon firing the rebound over the bar.
Stephane Sessegnon shot straight at Bunn as Sunderland continued to push forward and also had an overhead kick that missed its target.
Grant Holt had two chances for Norwich, getting the ball stuck under his feet on one and hitting another over the bar.
“We’ve scored two good goals and right at the end of the first half we’ve conceded a sloppy goal,” Pilkington said. “We didn’t think they were in it too much and it’s made the second half difficult. But we’ve shown how strong we are again.”
Norwich held on for a fourth straight home victory.
Two days ago, Chelsea lost 3-1 at West Ham, Tottenham defeated Fulham 3-0, and West Bromwich Albion was beaten 1-0 by Stoke.
Last-place Queens Park Rangers tied 1-1 against Aston Villa, Liverpool beat Southampton 1-0, and Arsenal suffered a 2- 0 defeat at home against Swansea. Newcastle hosts Wigan in today.
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