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Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Saturday, 15 November 2008

Blackburn 1-2 Sunderland

By Oliver Brett

Kenwyne Jones
Jones celebrates after scoring the first of Sunderland's two goals

Sunderland produced a vastly improved second-half performance as they came from behind to avenge their midweek Carling Cup defeat by Blackburn.

Rovers dominated the first half and led when Christopher Samba headed home from Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner.

But the second period was all about a revitalised Sunderland side.

Kenwyne Jones pounced on an error from Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson to level before Djibril Cisse converted a Steed Malbranque pass for the winner.

Blackburn boss Paul Ince made six changes to the team which beat Sunderland by the same score three days ago.

Roque Santa Cruz returned to the starting XI after marking his return from a hamstring injury with a goal after coming on as a substitute at the Stadium of Light.

Keane praises Cisse and Jones

Andre Ooijer, Stephen Warnock, Keith Andrews, Jason Roberts and Pedersen also returned to the side, while Sunderland manager Roy Keane settled for bringing in Teemu Tainio to replace Jordan Henderson in midfield.

Blackburn could have taken the lead in the second minute when Andrews, who had recovered from a knee problem, headed the ball back into the path of Warnock.

The defender was clear on goal but failed to test goalkeeper Marton Fulop, shooting wide of the post with his left foot.

kirky-Gally for Rovers
The home side continued to press forward and from a Pedersen corner Santa Cruz peeled away from his marker for a header which came back off the bar.

It was a difficult spell for Sunderland, who had also lost their three previous league games.

However, they gradually found their composure and had their first real chance when Malbranque sent Cisse clear midway through the half.

The Frenchman chipped the ball over Robinson but put too much weight behind it and the ball cleared the bar as well.

We shot ourselves in the foot - Mathias

The game went into a fairly sterile period but deep into injury time at the end of the half, Blackburn got the goal their early endeavour had deserved.

Pedersen's corner, swung in at pace, was met by Samba who produced a header of such power that a poorly positioned Fulop did not even attempt a save.

Sunderland, perhaps stung by their manager's words at half-time, shrugged off the setback and hit back with a spirited performance early in the second half.

Jones, who proved a constant threat to the Rovers defence, headed against the bar but was not to be denied for long.

The Trinidad and Tobago international's second opportunity came when Robinson flapped weakly at Kieran Richardson's corner and an unmarked Jones had the space to equalise with an overhead bicycle shot from close range.

Djibril Cisse
Djibril Cisse slots home the winner for Sunderland at Ewood Park
Blackburn looked ill at ease as Sunderland's confidence grew and, with Malbranque frequently a creative force in midfield, it seemed inevitable that further opportunities would fall the way of the visitors.

Sure enough, a cushioned header from Malbranque fell into the path of Cisse, who had just managed to stay onside and found himself in perfect position to beat Robinson.

Belatedly, Blackburn responded but Warnock and Santa Cruz failed to connect cleanly when presented with late chances to snatch a point.

Sunderland manager Roy Keane:
"It was a poor first half, we were disappointing and under a lot of pressure, particularly from corners.

"At half-time we questioned the players in terms of how badly they wanted it and their character, and credit to the lads for that second half performance. The new pairing up front were a real plus for us today."

Blackburn manager Paul Ince:
"It was a mistake [from Robinson] as he just came at the wrong time. But he has been outstanding for us and we are all in this together. I have just had a go at the players as I am upset and angry.

"We could have been three or four goals ahead by half-time. We got punished in the second half. It was a diabolical performance and the players should be a bit embarrassed by what happened."

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Khizanishvili, Warnock, Simpson, Andrews (Villanueva 62), Mokoena, Pedersen (Kerimoglu 76), Roque Santa Cruz, Roberts (Derbyshire 61). Subs Not Used: Brown, Fowler, Treacy, Judge.

Booked: Warnock, Khizanishvili, Mokoena.

Goals: Samba 45.

Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Nosworthy, Collins, Tainio (Reid 53), Whitehead, Richardson, Malbranque (Leadbitter 83), Cisse (Yorke 83), Jones. Subs Not Used: Colgan, Diouf, Murphy, Henderson.

Booked: Tainio, Ferdinand, Collins, Jones.

Goals: Jones 49, Cisse 71.

Att: 21,798

Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Blackburn's Keith Andrews 8.67 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Saturday's football photos
15 Nov 08 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
15 Nov 08 |  Premier League

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Daily Mail Blackburn 1 Sunderland 2: All bets are off as Cisse relieves pressure on Keane - 1 hr ago
Eat Sleep Sport Match Reports: Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Sunderland - 2 hrs ago
Telegraph Blackburn Rovers 1 Sunderland 2 - 3 hrs ago
Telegraph Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse seal Sunderland revival after four straight defeats - 5 hrs ago
The Sun Blackburn 1 Sunderland 2 - 6 hrs ago


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