Apr 29, 2013 at 8pm UK at ​Villa Park
Aston Villa
6-1
Sunderland
Vlaar (31'), Agbonlahor (88'), Benteke (55', 59', 72'), Weimann (38')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Rose (32')
Jimenez Cuellar (34'), Rose (66'), Bardsley (76')
Sessegnon (70')

Live Commentary: Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland - as it happened

Villa boss Paul Lambert does his best Paulo Di Canio impression against Sunderland on April 29, 2013
© PA Photos
Read how Aston Villa overcame Sunderland extremely comfortably on Monday night, ending Paolo Di Canio's honeymoon period at the Black Cats.

Aston Villa and Sunderland went into tonight's match at Villa Park knowing that win would ease their relegation worries greatly going into the final three games of the Premier League campaign.

It was Villa who stole the show with a 6-1 victory to bring Paolo Di Canio's honeymoon period at Sunderland crashing down.

Read how it all unfolded in our minute-by-minute updates below.


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7.01pmEvening all! Two teams have gone down then, and that just leaves one place left to tumble down to the Championship.

7.02pmReading and QPR played out a goalless draw yesterday and that sent them both down. Both sides in action tonight could join them if they don't have a surging end to the season.

7.04pmKickoff in Birmingham is at 8pm and we've just got word of some team news...

7.05pmVILLA XI: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett; Westwood, Delph, Sylla; Weimann, Agbonlahor; Benteke

7.07pmOne change from Paul Lambert then, with Yacouba Sylla taking the place of Charles N'Zogbia in midfield.

7.08pmSUNDERLAND XI: Mignolet; Bardsley, O’Shea, Cuellar, Rose; N’Diaye, Larsson, Gardner; Sessegnon, Johnson; Graham

7.11pmPaolo Di Canio, meanwhile, has made a pair of changes to his lineup. Phil Bardsley and Craig Gardner take the place of Jack Colback and James McClean.

7.14pmREFEREE WATCH: Tonight's man in charge is Lee Probert.

7.15pmDi Canio has just told Sky Sports News that there is "no secret" to his recent success since taking over at Sunderland. He insists that he simply inherited a squad with plenty of talent and that's that.

7.16pmThe Italian adds that all he is after once again tonight is a "good performance". He admits that it is "obvious" the Black Cats could lose tonight but that if they do win then they will be almost safe.

7.18pmHe's right in the sense that, mathematically, three points will not guarantee Sunderland's safety. However, victory would lift them a huge four places up to 11th.

7.19pmThat would leave Villa just two points above the drop zone, but Wigan below them will have a game in-hand after tonight's match so could send Villa down into the bottom three.

7.24pmRUN-INS! Let's have a look at the final few matches for the sides at the bottom.

Wigan: West Brom A, Swansea H, Arsenal A, Villa H
Villa: Norwich A, Chelsea H, Wigan A
Sunderland: Stoke H, Southampton H, Tottenham A
Newcastle: West Ham A, QPR A, Arsenal H

7.27pmYou'd have to say that Sunderland have perhaps the easiest run-in. After tonight's match at Villa, they host Stoke and Southampton before a tough trip to Spurs on the final day of the season on May 19. The Black Cats' arch rivals Newcastle are far from safe after Saturday's 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool. Alan Pardew's side have to go to West Ham and QPR before hosting Arsenal, who are likely to be chasing three points for Champions League football, on the final day and you'd have to say that they have the toughest run-in.

7.30pmIf Villa win tonight then you'd have to say that Wigan's task of staying up is a mighty one. However, they've done it before and winning at home to Swansea (their game in-hand) is certainly not out of the question. A Sunderland win tonight will certainly rejuvenate Roberto Martinez's side's push for another miraculous recovery.

7.34pmAs you can see from this form guide, Villa are in a lofty seventh place having picked up seven points in 10 games. Sunderland may be down in 14th but they have won their last two in a row. Di Canio's first game in charge was a tough trip to Chelsea but since then he has overseen a memorable 3-0 victory at Newcastle and a narrow triumph over Everton.

7.38pmHere's what Di Canio's opposite number Paul Lambert has told Sky Sports News ahead of the game: "The important thing is that we've got an opportunity to draw level with Sunderland and move clear of Wigan." He adds that if Villa win tonight it would "put them on a good road".

7.42pmSUBS! Here are the two benches for tonight's game:

Villa: Given, Holman, Lichaj, Bent, Bowery, N’Zogbia, Bannan
Sunderland: Westwood, Kilgallon, Colback, Vaughan, Mangane, McClean, Mandron

7.45pmIn the reverse fixture at the start of November it was Villa who claimed all three points thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor's 55th minute strike.

7.46pmHowever, that victory was Villa's first in six attempts against the Black Cats.

7.50pmPREDICTION TIME! Ten minutes until kickoff then and it's time for my prediction on the match. I can see it being a bit of a slugfest, with few chances at either end and can't see there being more than a couple of goals. Maybe one team will snatch it 1-0 and if I had to choose I'd go with Villa, Agbonlahor to get the goal and sink Sunderland once more.

7.54pmBoth sides are now in the tunnel, and both are in their traditional colours, with Villa in their claret and blue tops and white shorts while Sunderland don red-and-white stripe tops and black shorts.

7.56pmDi Canio saunters down the tunnel and out to a hostile reception at Villa Park after he taunted the home fans while he was in charge at Swindon Town earlier this season. He's in a fairly reserved outfit by his standards tonight: dark suit and red tie. Not quite the purple Argyle jumper we had on his first match in charge at Chelsea.

7.58pmA pre-match huddle from the home side. Can they secure a vital win to edge themselves ever closer to relegation? Star man Benteke whispers a prayer to himself as the rain pelts down in Birmingham.

0 minKICKOFF! Eight o'clock on the dot as Villa get us underway.

2 minVilla look far more dangerous in the first couple of minutes as Benteke's flick almost reaches Delph before Weimann has the ball nicked away from him by Rose just as he was about to shoot. From the resulting corner Mignolet fumbles the ball but Baker can't direct it to a fellow claret shirt and Sunderland just about clear.

5 minN'Diaye beats Delph in the air and the ball sits up nicely for Graham but his snapshot is allowed to barely travel a yard as Vlaar bravely blocks.

6 minBoth manages are more than happy to get soaked, it seems. They're both being very animated on the sidelines as they try to direct the action.

6 minBoth manages are more than happy to get soaked, it seems. They're both being very animated on the sidelines as they try to direct the action.

7 minCHANCE! Guzan is the goalkeeper who's conceded most in the league this year and he's almost gifted Sunderland a goal. Gardner takes a clipped ball around the American, who had misjudged it, but can't turn it goalwards as Baker deflects it out.

9 minAnd now it's Larsson who ghosts into the Sunderland box but he can't quite bring the ball under control to take a shot and Villa clear.

14 minIt looks like my prediction for this match is bang on so far. Neither keeper has been worked while retention of possession for long periods of time has been a real struggle.

20 minAs always at this stage of a game when Villa are playing, the crowd begin to clap for their number 19 Stiliyan Petrov, who is suffering from leukaemia. Di Canio also joins in the applause and that's a nice touch from the Italian.

25 minWHAT A MISS! Villa should be ahead! It's a brilliant one-two between Agbonlahor and Benteke, with the latter flicking it beautifully around the corner for the Englishman. He just has Mignolet to beat but pokes it agonisingly wide of the right-hand upright.

30 minSunderland win a free kick about 40 yards out. It's quite central but Larsson whips in a good ball that just eludes all the men in the middle.

31 minGOAL! Villa 1-0 Sunderland (Vlaar)

31 minOut of nowhere Villa lead and it's a wonderful goal from captain Vlaar. He sprints onto a loose ball before firing hard and low. Mignolet can't get down quick enough and the ball zips into the corner.

32 minGOAL! Villa 1-1 Sunderland (Rose)

32 minBlimey, that Villa lad didn't last long did it?! Sunderland reply instantly and it's a really well-worked goal from the visitors. Rose finds the perfectly-timed run of Graham and then goes for the return. Graham slips him in perfectly and the finish is precise into the far corner for his first goal in Sunderland colours.

34 minYELLOW! First man in the book is former Villa man Cuellar.

35 minIt's all happening all of a sudden in Birmingham! Now Villa appeal for a free kick right on the edge of the box as Agbonlahor's shot is charged down by Gardner. The ball did appear to strike his arm and that could have easily been given.

38 minGOAL! Villa 2-1 Sunderland (Weimann)

38 minIncredible stuff at Villa Park! Villa retake the lead and it's another fine goal. Lowton intercepts a raking Sunderland crossfield pass and drives into Sunderland half before picking out Weimann on the left who had lost his market. The Austrian's first touch is perfect and he strokes the ball into the far corner to restore claret-and-blue hope.

41 minSunderland almost make it the craziest of 10 minutes as N'Diaye lets fly from distance and Guzan has to get down low to his left to hold on to the ball.

44 minGardner slides in and puts the ball into the net but referee Probert had already blown his whistle for a foul on Guzan by Graham.

45+1 minSunderland have a free kick in a promising position out on the right touchline but Johnson's delivery is overhit and Graham can't keep it in. Three minutes have been added on, by the way.

45+4 minHALF-TIME: Villa 2-1 Sunderland

8.50pmIt took time to get going but we have a real game on our hands now after those three goals in seven minutes.

8.52pmIf you've only just joined us, click here to read Barney Corkhill's half-time report on proceedings in Birmingham.

8.54pmAnd if you refresh your page manually now you'll be able to see a great picture of Lambert doing his best Di Canio celebration impression!

8.57pmThe stats from the opening half really favour the home side. They've had 63% of possession and nine shots to Sunderland's four, also managing to get seven of those on target.

9pmThe bookies are certainly ruling out any chance of a Sunderland turnaround. They've got the Black Cats at quite a tasty 12/1 to win, while the draw is 11/4.

46 minKICKOFF! No changes from either manager at the start of the second and we're back underway!

47 minA reminder that just one player is on a booking at the moment. That's Sunderland's Cuellar.

48 minSunderland break upfield through N'Diaye who lays in Sessegnon. He jinxes inside the challenge of Lowton and shapes to shoot before hesitating once, then twice before playing in Graham who is tackled and the attack is ended.

50 minLittle bit of hangbags between N'Diaye and Lowton but referee Probert is there to break it up before anything happens. Villa have a free kick and Bennett's delivery is decent but easily taken by Mignolet.

55 minGOAL! Villa 3-1 Sunderland (Benteke)

55 minIt's a bit fortunate but Villa will take it! Agbonlahor feints past a pair of players before lining up a left-foot drive. His effort takes a slight deflection off a Sunderland shirt and that unbalances Mignolet who can only parry it out to Benteke and the Belgian stoops low to head into an empty net.

58 minJUST WIDE! Almost another instant response from Sunderland as Johnson curls over a delicious cross that Vlaar strangely ducks out of the way of. It bounces just wide of the post and you could call that great judgement from the Dutchman but surely he had no idea what was behind him?

60 minGOAL! Villa 4-1 Sunderland (Benteke)

60 minAnd another for the mighty Belgian! Westwood floats a corner high to the back post and Benteke is up brilliantly high and directs his header perfectly inside the far post. Superb leap and accuracy.

62 minSUNDERLAND SUB: Di Canio tries to shake things up by throwing on James McClean in place of Larsson.

66 minYELLOW! Another Sunderland player in the book and this time it's Rose. He slides in studs up on Weimann and Probert rightly shows him the yellow.

67 minOFF THE LINE! It's penalty-box pinball inside the Sunderland area! Benteke flashes a volley across goal and then Weimann smashes an effort towards the near post that Mignolet can only parry out straight back to Weimann. His first-time effort looks destined to find the net but it's blocked on the line by Cuellar. Frantic stuff.

70 minOFF! Stephane Sessegnon is sent off for Sunderland.

70 minI'm not sure about that one. Sessegnon is definitely late and studs up on Sylla but I'm not sure there was that much malice there. Either way, he's off and Sunderland will have to do without him for three games. Big loss.

72 minGOAL! Villa 5-1 Sunderland (Benteke)

72 minIt's a hat-trick for the Belgian and a dream night for Villa! There's an element of fortune about his third as Agbonlahor tries to cut inside but sees it deflected straight into the path of Benteke who beats Mignolet at his near post from a tight angle. "We want six!" chant the Holte End.

76 minYELLOW! Sunderland's frustration is starting to show and Bardsley is the next man to go into Probert's book.

79 minVILLA SUB: A standing ovation for hat-trick hero Benteke as he is taken off for Darren Bent, now playing against his former club of course.

83 minWhat a tumble back to Earth this has been for Di Canio in particular. People were commending his side's performance in the last two matches but they've been way short of their best tonight.

85 minSHOT! Villa almost find their sixth as Weimann tries to curl it into the far corner but just puts it too close to Mignolet. Moments later and Di Canio makes his final two changes, with young French striker Mikael Mandron on for Graham and David Vaughan replacing Gardner.

88 minGOAL! Villa 6-1 Sunderland (Agbonlahor)

88 minGoodness me, what a rout! Vaughan has only been on the field a matter of minutes but he's just made an awful error, overhitting a pass back to O'Shea that Agbonlahor runs onto before rounding Mignolet and rolling home from a few yards.

90 min"Paolo, what's the score? Paolo, Paolo what's the score?" is now the chant from the home faithful. Four minutes added on.

90+2 minAnd now the Villa fans are calling on their players to "SHOOOOT!" every time they have the ball. They surely can't believe their eyes.

90+4 minFULL-TIME: Villa 6-1 Sunderland

9.54pmSunderland almost ended the game on a slight high as Guzan kept out a header from a corner but it doesn't go in and soon after the full-time whistle is blown. What an incredible second half in particular from the home side. Four goals and huge, morale-boosting win.

9.56pmIf you've only just joined us and want a shorter report on the match then Barney's summary is here.

9.58pmThat result moves Villa above Newcastle on goal difference, just. Click here for the latest Premier League table.

9.59pmAnyway, thanks for joining SM for coverage of this crazy game in Birmingham. Be sure to stick around on site for plenty of analysis and reaction. We'll see you for more live football coverage tomorrow with Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund doing battle in the Champions League. See you then.

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates scoring against Aston Villa on April 22, 2013
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