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SAFC 2-3 Crystal Palace: Sunderland Throw Away Two Goal Lead

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Having led 2-0 through two Jermain Defoe goals, Sunderland threw away their lead to lose 3-2 against a very poor Crystal Palace side. What are your thoughts on the performance? Leave your comments below the article.

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Sunderland are still searching for their first win of the season having capitulated in an embarrassing fashion this afternoon at the Stadium of Light against Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace.

Having been 2-0 up through two Jermain Defoe goals, Palace hit back to score three and win the game when it didn't even seem likely that they would - a combination of poor defending and shocking refereeing cost Sunderland the three points on an afternoon where it felt almost impossible for them to lose having been comfortably ahead.

Sunderland started the brighter of the two and put plenty of pressure on the Palace back line as they tried to break them down, with Dider Ndong buzzing around the midfield trying to win back the back quickly.

The first chance of the game came from Christian Benteke, who headed straight at Jordan Pickford in the twelfth minute - the big Belgian should have perhaps done better on that occasion.

Not long after Steven Pienaar went down injured with a hamstring issue, and was subsequently replaced in the 14th minute by Duncan Watmore. Watmore was lively throughout the first half and worked hard in both halves of the pitch to ensure his side didn't allow Palace's wide-men the space they need to create chances for Benteke, who was lively throughout.

Neither team really imposed themselves on the game within the first twenty-five minutes and Sunderland struggled to get in to any sort of rhythm, with countless long balls forward costing us possession.

Sunderland's first proper chance came in the 27th minute - some neat work by Adnan Januzaj played in Patrick Van Aanholt down the left hand side, whose powerful delivery was flicked towards goal by Jermain Defoe - his effort beat the keeper but just span wide of the goal.

The game awoke in the 38th minute when a terrible pass back by Joe Ledley put Jermain Defoe through on goal, and the dependable Englishman dispatched past Steve Mandanda with ease. Sunderland went ahead going in to half time and, despite the first half being very poor, Sunderland took the one real chance that they did have.

There were no changes at half time for either side and the game started in a similar fashion to the first, with Sunderland the brighter of the two sides - Didier Ndong a particular highlight, winning back possession and playing some tidy passes to his team mates.

Palace almost scored a leveller when Adnan Januzaj gifted them possession in the aftermath of his own set piece in the 55th minute, but Jordan Pickford saved well from Jason Puncheon's well-struck effort after the visitors broke away on the counter attack at pace.

In the 59th minute Sunderland doubled their lead through a well taken Jermain Defoe half-volley, but Palace replied almost immediately when Patrick Van Aanholt failed to deal with a long ball forward which was dispatched by Joe Ledley via a deflection to put his side back in the game almost immediately.

Sunderland were all over Crystal Palace in the ten minutes after the equaliser, with Jermain Defoe squandering a couple of half chances in the search for his hattrick. The away side didn't seem comfortable with Sunderland pressing them high up the pitch and the pace of Duncan Watmore and Patrick Van Aanholt was proving to be effective, with the former winning his team a number of free kicks.

Crystal Palace scored their second in the 75th minute when a well-placed header by James McArthur tied the scores - Zeki Fryers had entered the pitch only a minute earlier and it was his fantastic cross which met the head of the Scotland midfielder, who got the better of Patrick Van Aanholt to nod past Jordan Pickford, who stood no chance really of saving McArthur's powerful effort.

Victor Anichebe came on for Adnan Januzaj late in the game to make his Sunderland debut as the home team went for the winning goal, but it was the visitors who came closest towards the end of the game after Andros Townsend fired wide in the 87th minute when it seemed as though it was almost impossible for him to not get a shot on target.

Sunderland's miserable afternoon was rounded off when Christian Benteke scored in the dying seconds of the game from a free header, and David Moyes is now still searching for his first three points of the season. When will they come? Not very soon I imagine.

Sunderland:

Pickford, Van Aanholt, Djilobodji, Kone, Manquillo, Kirchhoff, Cattermole (McNair, 85'), Ndong, Pienaar (Watmore, 14'), Januzaj (Anichebe, 85'), Defoe.

Crystal Palace:

Mandanda, Ward, Delaney, Tomkins, Kelly (Fryers, 74'), Ledley, McArthur, Puncheon (Lee, 90'), Cabaye (Wickham, 72'), Townsend, Benteke.