Wayne Rooney’s quest for his inaugural victory as Birmingham manager faced another setback as the team succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Despite Koji Miyoshi temporarily equalizing the score in the first half, the Blues struggled against Sunderland’s dominance. Dion Sanderson’s own goal and Adil Aouchiche’s late close-range finish secured the win for Sunderland.
Before the match, Sunderland dealt with an injury setback as Dennis Cirkin was sidelined during warm-up, leading to Nectarios Triantis making his first league start. This last-minute change didn’t disrupt Sunderland’s rhythm, evident in their early control, with Nazariy Rusyn hitting the post in the 11th minute.
Sunderland broke the deadlock with a set-piece goal, where Jobe Bellingham converted Jack Clarke’s corner. Bellingham, formerly of Birmingham, almost doubled his tally but was denied by the post. Birmingham fought back, and Miyoshi capitalized on defensive lapses to level the score.
The second half remained competitive, with Sunderland’s pressure paying off before the hour mark. A short-corner routine resulted in Trai Hume’s header, leading to an own goal by Sanderson. Sunderland sealed the victory with Aouchiche’s goal after a skillful cross from Clarke.
Despite Birmingham’s efforts, they couldn’t secure a win, extending Rooney’s search for that elusive first triumph as Birmingham’s manager.