Norwich City 0-1 Sunderland: Abdoullah Ba earns Black Cats victory
Abdoullah Ba fired Sunderland ahead with his first goal for the club
Abdoullah Ba’s first Sunderland goal was enough to snap the Wearsiders’ losing streak as they overcame Norwich.
The 19-year-old midfielder collected Joe Gelhardt’s pass and fired into the bottom corner to give his side an early lead at Carrow Road.
The Black Cats, who had lost their past three Championship matches, defended solidly to keep Norwich at bay.
It meant the Canaries missed their chance to regain a top-six place, while Sunderland climb to 10th.
Ba, making only his fourth start for Sunderland, was one of three changes to the line-up that lost 5-1 at home to Stoke a week ago, with both Amad Diallo and Alex Pritchard missing out due to injury.
Norwich had the better of the opening exchanges, with Teemu Pukki threatening several times and Max Aarons unleashing a drive that was clawed behind by Black Cats goalkeeper Anthony Patterson.
Yet it was the visitors who went ahead in the 15th minute, with Gelhardt picking out Ba, who worked his way into position on the edge of the box and struck a low left-foot finish beyond the diving Angus Gunn.
Ba’s goal rocked the Canaries, who struggled to respond and almost conceded a second soon afterwards when Gelhardt found himself in space but bundled the chance straight at Gunn.
Norwich boss David Wagner made several changes early in the second period, including the return of Josh Sargent, who had netted the only goal in his side’s win at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season.
However, the home side were unable to ask any serious questions of Patterson, who held a routine header from Grant Hanley and also kept out Pukki’s volley without much difficulty.
It was Sunderland who went closest to changing the scoreline when Jack Clarke’s ferocious drive thudded off Gunn’s chest and bounced loose, but Gelhardt was unable to capitalise on the rebound.
The visitors had five players booked as they dug in during the closing stages, surviving six added minutes to seal the win that lifts them to within five points of the play-off positions and three behind their seventh-placed opponents.
28Gunn2AaronsSubstituted forSørensenat 56’minutes5Hanley6Gibson30Giannoulis23McLean11IdahSubstituted forSargentat 45’minutes26NúñezBooked at 50minsSubstituted forTzolisat 73’minutes17Gomes Sara25HernándezSubstituted forMarquinhosat 56’minutes22PukkiBooked at 32minsSubstitutes1Krul4Omobamidele13Marquinhos18Tzolis19Sørensen24Sargent46Gibbs
1Patterson32HumeBooked at 64mins5Ballard6BatthBooked at 71mins13O’Nien24NeilBooked at 62mins25MichutSubstituted forEkwahat 67’minutesBooked at 90mins10Roberts17BaSubstituted forGoochat 67’minutesBooked at 85mins20Clarke28GelhardtSubstituted forLihadjiat 79’minutesSubstitutes11Gooch12Bass18Taylor19Bennette22Lihadji39Ekwah45Anderson
Match ends, Norwich City 0, Sunderland 1.
Second Half ends, Norwich City 0, Sunderland 1.
Foul by Gabriel Sara (Norwich City).
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Gabriel Sara (Norwich City).
Attempt missed. Josh Sargent (Norwich City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Dimitris Giannoulis with a cross.
Pierre Ekwah (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Gabriel Sara (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Pierre Ekwah (Sunderland).
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Kenny McLean (Norwich City).
Attempt missed. Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) header from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jacob Sørensen.
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ben Gibson (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lynden Gooch (Sunderland).
Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Daniel Neil.
Attempt blocked. Christos Tzolis (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Pierre Ekwah.
Marquinhos (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.