With Sunderland having cruised to a five-goal thrashing of Southampton last time out, the Black Cats headed to the capital city on Saturday to face QPR. The hosts have endured a rough patch of form thus far this season, and would be looking to record a positive result against a strong Sunderland outfit.
QPR: Begovic; Fox, Cook, Kakay; Paal, Colback, Field, Smyth; Chair, Dozzell; Armstrong
SUN: Patterson; Huggins, Ballard, O’Nien, Hume; Ekwah, Neil; Clarke, Bellingham, Ba; Burstow
A fascinating first half was just twelve minutes old when Kenneth Paal opened the scoring from the edge of the box, guiding his strike through a crowd of bodies to hand the hosts an early lead. Matters would turn from bad to worse for Sunderland soon after though, as Pierre Ekwah was forced to withdraw through injury before the fifteen-minute mark.
But Sunderland would soon find themselves with a numerical advantage, as Jack Colback was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Jobe Bellingham. The ex-Birmingham City midfielder thought he had restored parity just before the half-hour mark after nodding Alex Pritchard’s cross into the back of the net, though the linesman’s flag was promptly raised for offside.
Having impressed since his move from St Andrew’s, Bellingham came close to equalising again – although his effort failed to come to fruition. But the away fans would have something to rejoice in first-half stoppage time, as Jack Clarke cut inside to curl an effort past Asmir Begovic and level the match.
Dan Ballard sent an early effort wayward from a corner at the beginning of the second half, but the defender was able to thump an effort over the line from close range just before the hour mark. The Black Cats had taken the lead, and their performance was one worthy of three points as Abdoullah Ba came struck the post soon after.
Ba would finally be able to celebrate his first goal for the club in the 81st minute, as he was the recipient of Adil Aouchiche’s pass before going on to rifle an effort into the top corner with a fine strike.
Both teams will return to EFL Championship action in midweek, with QPR hosting Swansea City on Tuesday ahead of Sunderland’s trip to Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday.