Di Canio was brought in by Sunderland two weeks ago, after the team fired manager Martin O'Neill
Di Canio was brought in by Sunderland two weeks ago, after the team fired manager Martin O'Neill
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Paolo Di Canio savored a memorable first win as Sunderland manager, celebrating wildly following a trio of spectacular goals as his team beat local rival Newcastle 3-0 on Sunday to move three points clear of the relegation zone.

The combustible Italian sprinted down the touchline to deliver repeated double fist pumps after Stephane Sessegnon's 27th-minute opener. He then slid on his knees after Adam Johnson curled in a superb second in the 74th.

After David Vaughan sealed victory with a sweving shot from the angle of the box in the 82nd, a buoyant Di Canio joined a group team hug - his passion and spirit clearly transferring to his players in a hard-fought northeast derby win at St. James' Park.

"I'm happy for my players because they were warriors today,'' said Di Canio, whose first match in charge was a 2-1 loss at Chelsea last weekend.

"Yes, it's a big win in terms of the area, but it's only one step and not a big step in terms of the table.''

The win - Sunderland's biggest at Newcastle in 34 years - was the team's first in 10 matches in the league and keeps the hosts in trouble, two points above its neighbor with five games left. Wigan, which occupies the third and last relegation place, has two games in hand over both Newcastle and Sunderland.

The result could have been very different had Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse's close-range goal in the 61st been allowed to stand, instead of being wrongly ruled out for offside.

Cisse was also denied a handful of times by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

"The new manager has come in, and a new manager always has a positive effect,'' Sunderland captain John O'Shea said. "You can see what type of character he is on the sidelines.''

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