Newcastle 0 Sunderland 3 match report: Salutes for Paolo Di Canio as Sunderland storm to historic win at St James' Park

The Black Cats, who arrived on Tyneside without a win in nine Barclays Premier League games, were simply too good for their hosts

At the end, in the heat of a victory that will live for generations, came the salute. Such was the concern it would come from a Newcastle supporter that an entire police operation centred around it.

Only one came, and it was from the man who has stood at the centre of a storm since his appointment two weeks ago. Paolo Di Canio raised his right arm, and at the end of it were three fingers, pointing triumphantly towards Sunderland's delirious followers, somewhere up in the sky.

Three fingers. One for each goal.

Three fingers. Three points. The magic numbers.

It was all magic for Di Canio yesterday.

The scoreline, the greatest victory for Sunderland on Tyneside for 34 years, ensures its place in history.

The celebration for the second goal will similarly pass through the ages.

It was the moment Di Canio announced his arrival as a Premier League manager in the way he intended. It was Jose Mourinho. It was the manager of Sunderland charging down the touchline at St James' Park, fists pumping, sliding, in his best suit, on his knees, arms still outstretched, shouting his thanks to the footballing gods. And to Adam Johnson.

Johnson himself had not been shy in his own, personal triumph. It was a wonderful, winger's goal, cutting in on to his left foot, curling a 20-yard shot beyond the outstretched right hand of Rob Elliot, the substitute Newcastle goalkeeper, who could do no better than the player he replaced, Tim Krul, in quelling the vibrancy of a city's great rivals.

Off came Johnson's shirt, swirled in the air as he too slid on his knees to a corner flag in the heart of Newcastle's supporters, acid on an open wound. But it was still Di Canio's goal. It was Di Canio's day. They all will be. His was the energy burst that Ellis Short sought when he made the biggest call he will ever make as owner of a football club, and sacked experience, and brought in fire.

It was Di Canio's day. It was Sunderland's day. They have waited 13 years for victory on Tyneside, but not in their wildest dreams, level on points with third-bottom Wigan in the Premier League table before a ball was kicked, did they expect to travel the 13 miles that separates these two warring cities and so systematically take their great rivals to pieces.

Johnson's was the second. Stéphane Sessègnon had scored the first, in the 27th minute. It came from a Newcastle mistake (and there were plenty of them) when Jonas Gutierrez wastefully surrendered possession on the halfway line. James McClean found Sessègnon, and after holding off Gutierrez, desperate in his bid to make amends for the error, he tucked a 20-yard shot, hit with precision, beyond Krul's right hand. The goal was deserved. Sunderland had dominated the first half but the strike gave belief. Newcastle were out-passed, out thought and out-fought.

Sunderland should have had a first-half penalty when Danny Graham clearly had his shirt tugged by Steven Taylor. They should have had a penalty in the second half when Graham's header struck the flailing arm of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (the first half call, involving the same players looked less certain).

That was the context in which to place a disallowed Papiss Cissé effort, that came when there was only one goal in the game, just past the hour mark. Sylvain Marveaux crossed, Moussa Sissoko flicked on and Cissé finished from close range. Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, celebrated. Relief, however, was brief. Replays showed there was not an offside moment, but a flag went up, and Newcastle's spirit went down.

Johnson's strike was excellent, cutting inside in the 74th minute, before crashing a shot out of the reach of Elliot. Out of reach. Most things were for Newcastle.

The questions are now for Pardew, and a dismal league campaign. Newcastle were awful. Losing to Sunderland at St James' Park is not something any Newcastle manager wants on their CV, just ask Ruud Gullit, who resigned after a loss in a storm 14 years ago.

Pardew looked dispirited in the immediate aftermath of defeat, as you would expect, but there was a gamble played this week, and he lost. Newcastle, with Cissé and Yohan Cabaye starting against Benfica on Thursday, were strong enough to weaken themselves for yesterday's fixture, but not strong enough to win the Europa League quarter-final.

There were still five fresh pairs of legs against Sunderland, but they did not show. The decision to play Gutierrez at left-back was a major mistake. Statistics showed Newcastle made two interceptions in the game. Sunderland managed 20. As Newcastle rocked, so Sunderland, so unlike the team Martin O'Neill said were not good enough, went for the throat. With seven minutes remaining, and the home side all over the place, Sessègnon passed to substitute David Vaughan, who crashed his shot into the top corner. Not since Gary Rowell scored a hat-trick on this ground have Sunderland enjoyed such superiority.

There were no redeeming features for Pardew. On top of everything, he must reckon for the rest of this season without his first-choice goalkeeper, Krul, who dislocated his shoulder in palming away a free-kick.

Two points now separate the two rivals. It must now be evens as to who finishes higher and that is a truly phenomenal turnaround in the space of seven days, from when Newcastle supporters embraced their manager into their hearts last week to where his lot was last night. He trooped down the tunnel with a clap to fans who were either not there or no longer interested.

Di Canio by contrast, led his delirious players in salute to their fans. As they departed, centre stage was his. He pointed across to those fans and then began banging his chest; another salute of victory. In the dressing room he would enter, moments later, blasted out the Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire".

Fire. Sunderland had it. Newcastle did not.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture