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On This Day: Sunderland Blow Chelsea Away

On Saturday December 4th 1999, the Black Cats took on Chelsea in one of the most memorable fixtures to have been played at the Stadium of Light.

Niall Quinn putting pressure on Chelsea's Marcel Desailly
Niall Quinn putting pressure on Chelsea's Marcel Desailly
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Sunderland hosted Gianluca Vialli's star-studded Chelsea side on this day in 1999 having lost heavily at Stamford Bridge at the beginning of the campaign.

The Blues went into the contest as favourites to claim victory, while the home side were desperate to exact a measure of revenge on their opponents for the 4-0 defeat inflicted upon them on the opening day of the season.

Questions about Sunderland's top-flight credentials had been asked immediately after that first fixture, with the red-and-whites having just been promoted to the Premier League.

However, Peter Reid's men had improved dramatically and thus banished any doubts about their abilities to compete at the highest level.

What was to follow, though, took everyone by surprise as the Black Cats ripped their illustrious foes apart during 38 blistering first-half minutes.

Frenchman Eric Roy got the ball rolling with a determined run and squared pass for Niall Quinn to side-foot home after only 45 seconds.

Chelsea attempted to fight back, but missed decent chances through Tore-Andre Flo, Gianfranco Zola and Gus Poyet.

In-form striker Kevin Phillips made the visitors pay in the 24th minute when unleashing a 25-yard volley that swerved and dipped perfectly into the top corner.

The west London club's defence was all over the place, with no sign of any respite from the onslaught.

A goal-line clearance from Bernard Lambourde prevented a third, but the Black Cats weren't to be denied.

Experienced defender Marcel Desailly misjudged a high ball a moment later, allowing Niall Quinn to loop an effort goalwards. The Irishman was foiled by a superb save from Ed De Goey, but the predatory Phillips was on hand to knock the ball in.

Chelsea's goalie needed to be at his best again just 60 seconds on to deny Phillips a hat-trick. However, he could nothing from the resultant corner when a headed clearance fell to the elegant Quinn, whose left-foot volley found its way through a crowd and beyond the despairing 'keeper.

Gianluca Vialli made a series of changes in the second period, while Sunderland seemed happy with what they had.

Current Black Cats boss Poyet pulled a consolation goal back for the beleaguered travelling fans to cheer, but that's as good as it got for them.

The 4-1 win sent Sunderland into third spot in the Premier League standings, whilst giving supporters a performance to remember.