Sunderland face relegation after loss to Portsmouth

May 19th, 2009 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Chelsea London, May 19 (DPA) Sunderland are in danger of being relegated from the English Premier League after they were beaten 3-1 Monday at Portsmouth.
Kenwyne Jones put Sunderland ahead until John Utaka, an own goal by Phil Bardsley and a late strike from Armand Traore gave Portsmouth the win and left Sunderland deep in the mire.

Ricky Sbragia’s Sunderland side remain just two points ahead of the bottom three and with one game remaining - at home to Chelsea - wins for Hull City and Newcastle United Sunday could send them down to the Coca-Cola Championship.

“We knew in the second half they’d push onto us and close us down,” Sbragia said.

“But we got off to a good start. Kenwyne scored, and from then on we should have been a bit more confident and bossed the game. We kept the lead for two minutes, and that’s not acceptable. The second goal was a bad mistake by Anton (Ferdinand). He switched off. I would imagine he should have just put his foot through it and helped it on.”

Victory would have made Sunderland safe, and things looked good when centre back Calum Davenport broke out of defence, ran down the right and sent in a great cross that Jones toe-poked home in the 59th minute.

But their joy lasted just one minute, until Grant Leadbitter inadvertently headed the ball into the path of Utaka, who out-muscled the Sunderland defence to level the score with his first goal of the season.

Eight minutes later, a disastrous piece of defending from Ferdinand, who let a long ball go through his legs, left Utaka clean through, and after he took the ball around the goalkeeper, Bardsley slid in to clear but only succeeded in putting the ball into his own net.

Jones missed a great chance to equalise for Sunderland, and with two minutes remaining a crisp Portsmouth move found Traore inside the box, and he fired a left-footed shot to seal the victory for Portsmouth.

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