Sunderland closes gap on Norwich with 3-0 win in relegation scrap

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NORWICH, England (AP) — Sunderland took a big step in its fight for English Premier League survival as it beat fellow strugglers Norwich 3-0 on Saturday.

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Sunderland, which scored three goals from its three shots on target in the entire match, took the lead in the 41st minute through Fabio Borini's penalty after he was fouled by Andre Wisdom. Club top scorer Jermaine Defoe made it 2-0 shortly after halftime, sliding in to score from Borini's cross.

Sunderland got its third goal in stoppage time, Duncan Watmore rounding Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy to score. Norwich, although dominant for large parts of the match, was unable to take any of its chances.

Despite the result, Sunderland remains in 18th place — a point from safety — with a match in hand over Norwich, which is immediately outside of the relegation zone in 17th.

Sunderland began the game knowing that defeat would leave it seven points from safety.

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"We show that we can beat any team if we play football like we know," said Borini. "We know we've put pressure on the others but we need to focus on ourselves."

Norwich began the game without defender Timm Klose, who has been a solid part of its defense. Klose's replacement, Sebastien Bassong, was at fault when he lost the ball in his own half which led to the second goal.

Norwich was often the better team, forcing Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone into a number of fine saves. It was through this pressing that Watmore was able to capitalize on a breakaway to seal a key win for his team.