Swansea vs Sunderland match report: Fernando Llorente brace puts Black Cats to the sword

Swansea City 3 Sunderland 0: The Swans leapfrogged their opponents to rise off the bottom of the Premier League table

Graham Clutton
at the Liberty Stadium
Saturday 10 December 2016 18:40
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Llorente scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season in the win
Llorente scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season in the win

Fernando Llorente breathed fresh life into Swansea’s season and relieved some of the suffocating pressure on manager Bob Bradley.

The Spanish international scored two of his team’s three second-half goals to enable Swansea to leapfrog Sunderland at the foot of the Premier League.

Gyfli Sigurdsson put Swansea ahead with a 51st minute penalty, before the Icelander set up Llorente three minutes later.

The third goal – emphatically headed home by Llorente for his fifth of the season – followed in the 79th minute to bring a brutal end to David Moyes’ mini-revival for Sunderland.

Both managers went into this match desperate for points, but it was Bradley’s team who responded with the urgency and defensive solidity they have lacked for most of an unhappy season so far.

Sunderland were toothless in attack and vulnerable in central defence, particularly against the creative talent of Sigurdsson.

Sigurdsson put Swansea in front from the spot in the second half

After three victories in their previous four matches, this could prove a huge setback for Moyes, whose team find themselves back at the bottom.

With Leon Britton back oiling the wheels in the Swansea midfield – as one of five changes made by manager Bob Bradley – Swansea controlled the early exchanges without looking particularly threatening.

The speed of winger Mo Barrow caused some alarm, but too often Swansea’s final pass lacked precision.

Mistimed tackles began to mount on the slippery surface and when Didier Ndong caught Jay Fulton with a late lunge the Sunderland midfielder picked up the first yellow card.

Bradley had pinpointed Jermain Defoe as the primary danger to Swansea and the in-form striker underlined that threat midway through the first-half when he fired an angled shot over the bar after being released down the left by Victor Anichebe’s cross-field ball.

Moyes cut a frustrated figure on the touchline at times

The Swans then had their own near thing. A free-kick floated into the Sunderland penalty area by Gylfi Sigurdsson was nodded over the bar by Alfie Mawson who should have done better.

Sunderland looked content to sit back and absorb Swansea’s pressure – not a difficult task given the home side’s lack of penetration. Only the fitful threat of Barrow and Wayne Routledge promised to create openings, but the chances were rarely created.

The Swans’ best opportunity of a forgettable first-half was when Sigurdsson swung in a free-kick from the right, but Jordi Amat’s free header was sent over the bar.

Swansea’s need for something, anything, to spark them into life at the start of the second-half was palpable.

They survived another scare from Defoe when he shot just wide from the edge of the box after a rare Sunderland counter-attack, before Bradley’s team earned a priceless break in their favour.

Routledge’s chip across the box was blocked by Denayer’s raised forearm and after referee Craig Pawson had pointed to the spot, Sigurdsson beat Jordan Pickford with the penalty for the Icelander’s fourth goal of the season.

Llorente brought Moyes' mini-revival with Sunderland to an end

It was a deserved lead, just, and it prompted Swansea’s most convincing spell during which they doubled the lead and could have scored twice more.

Firstly, Barrow was denied by a brilliant save from Pickford after Sigurdsson’s inventive through ball.

But from the resulting corner, again taken by the source of all Swansea’s creative danger, Sigurdsson, Fernando Llorente made it 2-0 by striking a crisp low shot inside the far post.

Moments later, unmarked Amat had a chance to head Sigurdsson’s free-kick past Pickford for a three-goal lead but was denied by another brilliant save by the Sunderland keeper.

There was to be no escape for Sunderland and Pickford 11 minutes from time, however, when Llorente claimed the third to make the game safe for Swansea.

Substitute Jefferson Montero weaved his way to the byeline before an inviting cross was powerfully finished off by the former Juventus striker who is now finding his best form in Wales after a slow-burning beginning.

Swansea (4-5-1): Fabianski; Rangel, Mawson, Amat, Taylor; Britton, Barrow (Montero 76), Fulton, Sigurdsson, Routledge; Llorente (McBurnie 83).

Subs not used: van der Hoorn, Fer, Cork, Naughton, Nordfeldt.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Pickford; Jones, Koné, Djilobodji, van Aanholt; Larsson (Januzaj 55) , Ndong (Kirchoff 57), Denayer, Pienaar (Manquillo 84); Defoe, Anichebe.

Subs not used: Mannone, Khazri, O'Shea, Borini.

Referee: Craig Pawson

Attendance: 20,453

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