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Gianluca Vialli discusses the defeat
"We didn't start well"
 real 28k

Peter Reid discusses the game on Radio 5 Live
"It feels a bit better than the first game of the season"
 real 28k

Peter Slater reports from the Stadium of Light
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 December, 1999, 19:15 GMT
Chelsea shot down in flames
Phillips' first was a candidate for goal of the season

Sunderland 4-1 Chelsea

Sunderland strike duo Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips blew away Chelsea's title hopes as Gianluca Vialli's side crashed to a 4-1 defeat in the Stadium of Light.

Peter Reid's hard-working men did not just expose the fashionable side's Premiership pretensions, they ripped them to shreds in 38 blistering opening minutes.

We owed them one - and we paid them back
Sunderland manager Peter Reid

Quinn and Phillips scored a pair apiece before the interval as the Wearsiders inflicted maximum revenge for their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea on the opening day of the season.

That defeat left Quinn questioning his Premiership class and the critics scornful of his club's chances in the top-flight.

After this emphatic result, the only questions to be asked are of Chelsea's domestic demise.

Vialli: "We don't just make changes for the sake of it"
The Premiership newcomers taught them lessons in commitment, team-work and technique and have almost certainly ended any hopes of the London side may have had of challenging for the league.

Instead, those title-chasing clothes have been stolen by Sunderland, who are now third.

Vialli's men were stripped bare in a first-half onslaught in which their so-called world class players were made to look almost laughably poor.

French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly was pulled off at half-time for a series of clangers, two of which led to the first and third goal.

Match facts
1 min: Quinn slots the opening goal
24 mins: Phillips fires in the second
36 mins: Phillips clips in Sunderland's third goal
38 mins: Quinn volleys the fourth goal
81 mins: Poyet pulls one back from a corner

Vialli had strangely chosen this tough away trip to blood teenager John Harley but the Stadium of Light was no place for timid debutants. He too was yanked off as Chelsea sought to desperately regroup in the second half.

But there was no way of rebuilding the ruins.

The destruction had begun within seconds of the kick-off.

As Frenchman Eric Roy set off on a shuffling run, the Chelsea defenders peeled apart like stalks of corn.

Roy squared the ball for Quinn to side-foot home with only 45 seconds on the clock. It was the fastest goal in English league football on Saturday.

Chelsea did not seem overly perturbed, despite Sunderland's more than overt threat.

Tore Andre Flo carved out a good chance, only to hit the side-netting, before first Gianfranco Zola and then Gus Poyet squandered useful openings.

Chelsea splashed out 10m on Chris Sutton over the summer, but the struggling striker was deemed only good enough for the bench as the visitors lack of a natural goal-scorer was again exposed.

No more so than by the stunning form of the league's top scorer, Kevin Phillips.

Phillips can do no wrong at the moment and when he let loose with a 25-yard volley in the 24th minute, there was no surprise when it swerved sweetly into the top corner for a goal that will surely become candidate for strike of the season.

Phillips nets his 16th in the league this season
Chelsea were two goals behind yet still unable to shore up their creaking defence.

Only a goal-line clearance from Bernarde Lambourde prevented goal No 3 in the 35th minute.

But sixty seconds later the Blues were undone again.

Desailly missed a high ball allowing Quinn to direct a looping shot to the far left corner. Although Ed De Goey saved brilliantly, Phillips was on hand to clip home the loose ball.

A minute later the former Watford striker was at it again as 6ft 5ins De Goey needed all his height to tip over another dipping drive.

I don't think it's going to affect the team in any way because it's much easier to play in the Champions League
Gianluca Vialli looks to Lazio
But from the resulting corner the ball was headed out to Quinn at the far post, whose left-foot volley squeezed its way through the mass of legs and past the unsighted De Goey.

Sunderland's work was done and though they made a half-hearted attempt to build on the lead in the second half, it was clear that the four-goal margin was more important than adding to the tally.

Chelsea looked little better at the back despite the changes, and little better at the front - Flo blasting straight at Sorensen and Zola anonymous.

Significantly it was midfielder Poyet who pulled a consolation goal back, after Vialli had brought off captain Dennis Wise and replaced him with another first-timer, Robert Wooleaston.

The switch was designed to protect Wise ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash in Rome. At the moment, the campaign appears to be costing Chelsea too much.


Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Craddock, Williams, Gray, Summerbee, Thirlwell, Roy, Schwarz, Quinn, Phillips. Subs: Oster, Marriott, Reddy, Holloway, Butler.

Chelsea: De Goey, Lambourde, Babayaro, Desailly, Hogh, Poyet, Wise, Morris, Harley, Zola, Flo. Subs: Petrescu, Goldbaek, Cudicini, Terry, Wolleaston.
Referee: S Dunn (Bristol)
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See also:
28 Nov 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Doubts linger over Blues
24 Nov 99 |  Champions League
Blues win Dutch mismatch
20 Nov 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Flo saves ten-man Chelsea
Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.