Gyan cost more than £13m when joining Sunderland from Rennes
Asamoah Gyan scored twice on his first Premier League start as Sunderland hit back from their hammering at Newcastle to earn a controversial win over Stoke.
Gyan scored an early opener from close range, before Steed Malbranque missed a penalty after Jon Walters fouled Gyan.
The Potters felt hard done by when Lee Cattermole seemed to keep out Kenwyne Jones's goalbound effort with his hand.
Stoke's Ryan Shawcross was then sent off for a second booking before Gyan sealed it with an 86th minute volley.
It was a frenzied finish to a game which could have gone either way as the visitors attempted to end a three-match losing streak and the Black Cats looked to put their crushing 5-1 defeat by north-east rivals Newcastle behind them.
Sunderland performance lifts Bruce's spirits
Stoke made the livelier start as their manager Tony Pulis's decision to keep faith with the side that narrowly lost at Everton last weekend brought a positive response.
But they were only in the ascendancy for nine minutes before Sunderland's £13m record signing Gyan gratefully slotted home a loose ball after Nedum Onuoha's attempted shot was blocked by goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
The goal settled the home fans and players but former Wearside hero Jones, who left the Stadium of Light to join Stoke in the summer for £8m, quickly revived the visitors.
Surging towards the Sunderland goal, he coolly collected Matthew Etherington's through ball but his close-range shot was kicked to safety by the outstretched boot of keeper Simon Mignolet.
The Black Cats had a chance to extend their lead just before the half hour when Jon Walters fouled the lively Gyan in the area.
With leading scorer Darren Bent absent because of a hamstring injury, Malbranque took on the responsibility but his effort was easily read by Begovic, who palmed the ball to safety.
Frenchman Malbranque almost made amends right on the stroke of half-time with a powerful volley from the edge of the box but the effort flew wide and without the comfort of a two-goal cushion, the game hung in the balance at the restart.
Tuncay almost grabbed an equaliser after a goalmouth melee before Jones looked set to equalise when his header from Etherington's corner curled towards the net.
Referee got penalty call wrong - Pulis
It was knocked away by Cattermole's arm and although Stoke appealed, referee Martin Atkinson only awarded a corner after consulting his assistant.
The visitors, to their credit, got on with the game but Jones was denied again when he headed down Tuncay's curling corner only to see it cleared off the line, this time by Phil Bardsley.
Moments later, Shawcross saw red for a second bookable offence after a foul on Danny Welbeck and the home side quickly pounced, with Gyan volleying substitute Kieran Richardson's deflected pass beyond Begovic to secure all three points.
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce:
"In some eyes we have repaired some damage, in some eyes we won't repair it at all.
"But thankfully we showed a bit of bottle, we kept a clean sheet and showed what we are made of a little bit in a really difficult week.
"Thankfully the new striker showed what a class act he is today, I thought he was terrific. He gave us a spark and lift which we needed."
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis:
"The decision was a game-changing decision. That's the sixth in 11 games that we have had given against us.
"It's handball, everybody will agree it's handball, Cattermole gets sent off, you hope you score the penalty and it's then 11 Stoke City players against 10 Sunderland players with 20 minutes to go.
"Shawcross doesn't get sent off and it is a completely different game. It's very, very disappointing."
90:00+4:16 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
90:00+2:09 Kenwyne Jones takes a shot. Michael Turner gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Tuncay Sanli from the
90:00+1:37 Asamoah Gyan takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.
90:00+0:59 Jordan Henderson has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target.
90:00+0:02 Unfair challenge on Ricardo Fuller by Kieran Richardson results in a free kick. Asmir Begovic takes the direct free kick.
89:28 Asamoah Gyan fouled by Abdoulaye Faye, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Kieran Richardson.
89:28 Booking Abdoulaye Faye is booked.
88:57 Short corner taken by Kieran Richardson.
88:16 Kieran Richardson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Tuncay Sanli. Abdoulaye Faye takes the direct free kick.
87:52 Ricardo Fuller concedes a free kick for a foul on Phillip Bardsley. Anton Ferdinand takes the free kick.
87:52 Booking Ricardo Fuller goes into the referee's book.
85:59 GOAL - Asamoah Gyan:Sunderland 2 - 0 Stoke Asamoah Gyan finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal.
Sunderland 2-0 Stoke.
85:15 Kieran Richardson has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.
83:21 Corner taken right-footed by Jordan Henderson from the left by-line, save made by Robert Huth.
82:03 Ryan Shawcross gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Danny Welbeck. Direct effort from the free kick comes in
from Kieran Richardson, Tuncay Sanli gets a block in.
82:03 Sent off The referee red cards Ryan Shawcross for second bookable offence.
80:49 Boudewijn Zenden has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.
79:04 Asamoah Gyan takes a shot from 30 yards. Save by Asmir Begovic.
78:14 Foul by Ryan Shawcross on Danny Welbeck, free kick awarded. Phillip Bardsley restarts play with the free kick.
78:14 Booking Ryan Shawcross is given a yellow card.
76:02 The ball is crossed by Tuncay Sanli, Robert Huth takes a shot.
73:58 Substitution (Sunderland) makes a substitution, with Boudewijn Zenden coming on for Ahmed Elmohamady.
73:58 The referee blows for offside against Ricardo Fuller. Indirect free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
73:58 Substitution Dean Whitehead leaves the field to be replaced by Rory Delap.
72:03 Tuncay Sanli concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Cattermole. Michael Turner restarts play with the free kick. The offside
flag is raised against Asamoah Gyan. Asmir Begovic takes the indirect free kick.
71:30 Corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the left by-line, Kenwyne Jones takes a shot. Blocked by Phillip Bardsley.
70:15 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington, Kenwyne Jones takes a shot. Lee Cattermole gets a block in.
69:40 Corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington, save made by Simon Mignolet.
68:32 Unfair challenge on Tuncay Sanli by Phillip Bardsley results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Etherington.
68:05 Foul by Ahmed Elmohamady on Marc Wilson, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Abdoulaye Faye.
66:52 Free kick awarded for a foul by Robert Huth on Danny Welbeck. Strike on goal comes in from Asamoah Gyan from the free kick.
66:16 Ricardo Fuller has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.
66:16 Substitution Anton Ferdinand is brought on as a substitute for John Mensah.
64:42 Effort from outside the penalty box by Kenwyne Jones goes wide right of the target.
62:51 Jordan Henderson sends in a cross.
62:33 Corner taken by Jordan Henderson from the left by-line.
61:35 Phillip Bardsley delivers the ball, Danny Welbeck produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide
of the left-hand post.
Correction - 59:40 Inswinging corner taken by Dean Whitehead, Unfair challenge on Simon Mignolet by Robert Huth results in a free kick. Simon
Mignolet takes the free kick.
59:40 Substitution Steed Malbranque leaves the field to be replaced by Kieran Richardson.
59:40 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Dean Whitehead, Simon Mignolet fouled by Robert Huth, the ref awards a free
kick. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
59:26 Dean Whitehead takes a shot. Michael Turner gets a block in.
58:54 The ball is delivered by Robert Huth, Phillip Bardsley gets a block in.
56:49 Substitution Ricardo Fuller replaces Jonathan Walters.
56:24 The assistant referee signals for offside against Asamoah Gyan. Abdoulaye Faye restarts play with the free kick.
55:42 Matthew Etherington concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Turner. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
Correction - 48:06 Shot from outside the box by Matthew Etherington goes wide right of the target.
48:06 Matthew Etherington has an effort at goal from outside the box missing to the wide left of the goal.
Correction - 47:07 Matthew Etherington takes a shot. Blocked by Michael Turner.
47:07 Matthew Etherington takes a shot. Blocked by John Mensah.
46:05 Phillip Bardsley takes a shot. Ryan Shawcross gets a block in.
45:38 Corner from the right by-line taken by Jordan Henderson, clearance by Ryan Shawcross.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:00+2:08 The first half comes to an end.
44:08 Jonathan Walters gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Phillip Bardsley. Phillip Bardsley restarts play with the
44:08 Booking Jonathan Walters receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
43:05 Unfair challenge on Asamoah Gyan by Robert Huth results in a free kick. Phillip Bardsley takes the free kick.
43:05 Booking Robert Huth is given a yellow card.
Correction - 41:53 Jordan Henderson takes the inswinging corner, Danny Collins manages to make a clearance. Headed effort from inside the area
by Nedum Onuoha misses to the right of the target.
41:53 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jordan Henderson played to the near post, clearance made by Danny Collins.
Correction - 40:28 The ball is sent over by Ahmed Elmohamady, Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Ryan Shawcross gets a block in. Corner taken right-footed
by Jordan Henderson.
40:28 The ball is crossed by Ahmed Elmohamady, Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Shawcross. Corner from right by-line
taken by Jordan Henderson.
39:58 Danny Collins takes a shot. Blocked by John Mensah.
39:28 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington played to the near post, John Mensah makes a clearance.
36:01 John Mensah concedes a free kick for a foul on Kenwyne Jones. Free kick crossed by Marc Wilson, Simon Mignolet makes a save.
34:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by Steed Malbranque on Tuncay Sanli. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
33:13 Matthew Etherington produces a cross, clearance by John Mensah. Matthew Etherington takes the outswinging corner, John Mensah
manages to make a clearance.
30:18 Ahmed Elmohamady produces a cross, clearance by Ryan Shawcross.
29:33 Ryan Shawcross challenges Asamoah Gyan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Danny Welbeck restarts play with the free kick.
28:24 A save by Asmir Begovic from penalty by Steed Malbranque. Sunderland 1-0 Stoke.
27:25 Unfair challenge on Asamoah Gyan by Jonathan Walters results in a Penalty.
22:46 Abdoulaye Faye is penalised for a handball. Jordan Henderson delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right
wing, clearance by Dean Whitehead.
21:23 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jonathan Walters on Phillip Bardsley. Direct free kick taken by Phillip Bardsley.
15:38 Danny Collins fouled by Danny Welbeck, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Abdoulaye Faye.
14:45 Lee Cattermole concedes a free kick for a foul on Marc Wilson. Free kick crossed left-footed by Matthew Etherington from left
channel, save made by Simon Mignolet.
13:51 A cross is delivered by Steed Malbranque, Danny Collins manages to make a clearance.
13:09 Unfair challenge on Danny Welbeck by Dean Whitehead results in a free kick. Nedum Onuoha restarts play with the free kick.
12:29 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Walters by Phillip Bardsley. Ryan Shawcross takes the free kick.
10:51 Lee Cattermole takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Shawcross.
8:37 Assist by Nedum Onuoha. Nedum Onuoha takes a shot. Asmir Begovic makes a save.
8:37 GOAL - Asamoah Gyan:Sunderland 1 - 0 Stoke Asamoah Gyan fires in a goal from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Sunderland 1-0 Stoke.
5:04 Matthew Etherington takes a inswinging corner.
3:39 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matthew Etherington by Nedum Onuoha. Danny Collins restarts play with the free
3:16 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Marc Wilson.
0:56 Tuncay Sanli has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
0:00 The game kicks-off.
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