Sbragia quits as Sunderland revel in rivals' demise

Sunderland 2 Chelsea 3

They lost the game and they lost their manager Ricky Sbragia, and yet they celebrated. They celebrated as if they had won the World Cup, the Grand National and the Olympic 1500 metres all on the same day. Sunderland have survived in the Premier League and despite suffering an eighth defeat in their last 10 matches, the news from Villa Park that arch-rivals Newcastle were losing and were relegated was enough to send Wearside into delirium.

Sbragia stepping back into the coaching set-up from which he emerged reluctantly in December following Roy Keane's walk-out was a surprise to no one. Despite an initial uplift in results – two four-goal victories over West Brom and Hull – Sbragia looked less comfortable the day his tenure was made permanent.

That has been reflected in three wins in the 19 league games since. Sunderland stayed up due to the deficiencies of others. "I'm delighted, not sad," Sbragia said. "I could've been selfish and kept it but I was thinking about Sunderland.

"For them to take the step to the next level they need a bigger name. I felt it was time to go, it was me who suggested it. My brief was to keep Sunderland in the Premier League."

Sbragia did that, and he is a good man. But Sunderland need a makeover. Superficially, losing 3-2 to a side of Chelsea's strength sounds laudable, but Chelsea, were conserving themselves for Saturday's FA Cup final. Frank Lampard was left in London. He will be fit for Everton.

Alan Shearer taking Newcastle down on the day that Sunderland stay up is the stuff of prayers round here. It is only three years since Shearer played his last ever game, on this ground, a 4-1 Newcastle victory that capped Sunderland's 15-point season. That will never be forgotten.

A third relegation in five seasons was a possibility but the club has survived the buckling effect of Keane's exit and the man whom Keane blamed that on, Ellis Short, was here yesterday to witness the club he is about to seize full control of.

Chelsea forced three corners in the first eight minutes, Michael Essien hit the side-netting and Didier Drogba provoked the first of three decent first-half saves from Sunderland keeper Marton Fulop.

In first-half injury-time Florent Malouda struck the crossbar, so though there was tribal glee at news from Villa, Sunderland were not there yet. Two minutes after the interval, reality bit anew. Nicolas Anelka buried a sweet shot from 20 yards. It was Anelka's 19th of the season, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo, and Anelka finishes as the division's top scorer.

Kieran Richardson equalised six minutes later but Salomon Kalou made it 2-1 on 74 minutes and after more weak home defending, Ashley Cole made it three. In the 90th minute Kenwyne Jones headed in a brilliant Andy Reid cross and there was then a wait for confirmation of survival. When it came Wearside erupted.

Sunderland (4-4-1-1) Fulop; Bardsley, Ferdinand, Davenport, Collins; Malbranque (Healy, 79), Tainio (Reid, 65), Whitehead, Leadbitter; Richardson (Murphy 87); Jones. Substitutes not used: Colgan, McShane, Edwards, Cisse

Chelsea (4-3-3) Cech; Boswinga, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Essien (Kalou, 65) Mikel (Mancienne, 79) Belletti (Ballack, 27); Anelka, Drogba, Malouda. Substitutes not used: Hilario, Stoch, Sinclair, Di Santo

Referee: M Halsey (Hertfordshire)

Booked: Sunderland Bardsley; Chelsea Cole

Man of the match: Mikel

Attendance: 42,468

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
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

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
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser