The visitors went in ahead at the break after Cesar Azpilicueta's own goal but then conceded one of their own as the ball ricocheted off Matthew Kilgallon's legs and spun into the corner.
Below, Sports Mole casts its eye over the 90 minutes in West London.
On target 7
On target 3
Was the result fair?
Just about, yes. Sunderland edged a relatively chance-less first half and were rewarded with the goal just before the break. However, they couldn't sustain their intensity and allowed Chelsea to dominate straight away after the interval and they scored two quick, bizarre goals to wrap up the points.
With the likes of Oscar, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba in the starting lineup, many would have predicted a brisk attacking display from the Blues. They couldn't deliver though and were sluggish from the start although they had much of the ball. Defensively, they were solid enough and the goal they conceded was a tad unlucky.
Di Canio clearly had his players fired up from the off as they harried and hassled the home side into early mistakes. They couldn't take advantage though and ended up paying the price for not scoring more when they were on top. Di Canio opted for Connor Wickham up front and it was a tough day for the teenager up against David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Fernando Torres: The Spaniard may have only played the second half but he was picked up where he left off in midweek, when he scored a brace against Rubin, with an energetic performance that inspired his side. The run that led to the equaliser was like the Torres of old.
This award goes to Stephane Sessegnon for his selfishness right at the start of the game. He got in behind the Chelsea defence but lashed a shot into the side-netting instead of simply squaring for the unmarked Wickham to tap home.
Neil Swarbrick had a solid game throughout and had very few contentious decisions to deal with.
Chelsea: Next up for the Blues is the return leg of their Europa League quarter-final in Russia against Rubin Kazan. They lead 3-1 after the first leg.
Sunderland: It's a huge game next weekend for the Black Cats as they travel to bitter rivals Newcastle at midday on Sunday.