Bellingham steers Sunderland past Leeds

12 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

Jobe Bellingham notched a second-half winner as managerless Sunderland ended high-flying Leeds’ seven-game unbeaten run with a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light.

The younger brother of Real Madrid and England superstar Jude scored the fourth goal of his fledgling career to eke out victory over Daniel Farke’s third-placed side, who slipped 10 points behind new Championship leaders Ipswich.

It was a second win in two games for Sunderland caretaker Mike Dodds since the sacking of Tony Mowbray last week and the Black Cats – for whom Will Still is the favourite to take the reins on a permanent basis – remain sixth in the
table.

Dodds made three changes to the side that started Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to West Brom, with Jenson Seelt, Abdoullah Ba and Alex Pritchard all added as Pierre Ekwah, Adil Aouchiche and Patrick Roberts dropped to the bench.

There was one enforced alteration to the Leeds team from Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Blackburn as Sam Byram missed out through injury and Djed Spence slotted in at left-back for his first start since joining on loan from Tottenham in the summer.

The visitors started brightly and had the first attempt of the night in the fourth minute when Crysencio Summerville’s inswinging free-kick from wide on the left had to be tipped behind for a corner by Anthony Patterson.

Leeds – enjoying the majority of the early possession – went close again in the 16th minute after working the ball towards Spence, who curled a low right-footed effort just wide from 20 yards out.

Having been on the back foot, Sunderland – largely inspired by Jack Clarke and Alex Pritchard – gained the upper hand as the half wore on and should have gone in ahead at the break.

Pritchard was desperately unlucky to see a 21st-minute strike from the angle of the box drift agonisingly wide of the far post.

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After scoring the winner in Sunderland’s 1-0 win over Leeds United, Jobe Bellingham joked that he doesn’t want interim manager Mike Dodds to get too big-headed!

Then on the half hour, the former Norwich and Huddersfield midfielder’s free-kick from wide on the left caused panic in the Leeds box before being scrambled clear.

Seconds later Illan Meslier made a sensational save when he dived full stretch to his left to claw out Seelt’s header following a Pritchard corner into the box.

Another Pritchard deliver in the 38th minute should have led to a Sunderland opener, but Bellingham sent a free header wide from six yards out.

The hosts continued to threaten after the interval and Niall Huggins forced another save from Meslier after Archie Gray’s headed clearance fell kindly to him on the edge of the box.

At the other end, Glen Kamara had a strike from edge of the box blocked by Patterson before Summerville tested the Sunderland keeper in the 72nd minute after a rapid counter-attack.

But Sunderland made the breakthrough in the 78th minute when 18-year-old Bellingham reacted sharply to nod a bouncing ball beyond Meslier from four yards out after Pritchard – stationed in the D outside the box – headed the ball back into the danger area following an attempted clearance by Pascal Struijk.

The managers

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Following their 1-0 win over Leeds United, Sunderland interim manager Mike Dodds refused to be drawn on whether he’ll become the full-time boss.

Sunderland caretaker Mike Dodds:

“Both brothers have a very similar mindset in terms of their relentless pursuit of where they want to get to. He [Jobe] made a really brave and tough decision to leave Birmingham, the club he supported all his life. Thankfully from my perspective, it looks like he’s made the right decision and I’m sure he would reiterate that. But it is tough for him, it is tough for him. And it will only get easier as he gets credit in the bank for himself.

“I think it speaks volumes for Jobe that as an 18-year-old boy in the Championship, he could play as No 9 against West Brom on Saturday and then a 10 against Leeds tonight. That shows what quality and class he has and just highlights what a fantastic talent he is regardless of the name on the back of his shirt. I think he can go to the very top. I’ve worked with a lot of young players and he would be up there with the very best I’ve worked with.”

“I’ve not had enough time to process what’s actually happened. It’s been a whirlwind since last Tuesday. I knew how much effort I’d have to put in to prepare for these games and I’m tired. I’ve got a day off tomorrow and I’m going to spend the day Christmas shopping and trying to switch off. Then Thursday will be business as usual in terms of preparing for Saturday.”

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Leeds United manager Daniel Farke was left frustrated after his side’s 1-0 defeat at Sunderland in the Championship.

Leeds’ Daniel Farke:

“Congratulations to Sunderland for a great defensive effort. In general, I’m struggling to criticise my lads too much. It was a difficult away game and I thought we dominated for many periods but we didn’t find the cutting edge today.

“And credit to Sunderland, they tried to park the bus and they did really well. They gave their life in order to defend everything.”

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