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Sunderland in dire straits despite Borini leveller

Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Sunderland salvaged a 2-2 draw against West Ham thanks to Fabio Borini’s late equaliser, but the Premier League’s bottom club remain in severe danger of relegation.

David Moyes’ side are nine points from safety with just six games remaining after a frustrating afternoon at the Stadium of Light.

Having fallen behind to Andre Ayew’s early goal, Sunderland equalised through Wahbi Khazri, only to see James Collins put the Hammers back in front.

Borini rescued a point in the 90th minute, but Sunderland, now without a win in eight matches, need victories rather than draws in their desperate situation and it was no surprise to hear Moyes and his players jeered at full-time.

West Ham are nine points clear of the bottom three and should be assured of beating the drop despite a troubled season on and off the pitch.

Sunderland have made a habit of staging last-ditch escape acts to avoid relegation in recent years.

But there is a sense of inevitability about their fate this time and thousands of fans seemed to have accepted relegation is certain judging by the swathes of empty red seats at kick-off.

It took just five minutes for Sunderland’s creaky defence to be breached as Andy Carroll scuffed Sam Byram’s cross back across goal and Ayew tucked the ball into the net.

Sunderland levelled in fortuitous circumstances in the 26th minute to end a home goal drought that had stretched back to January 14.

Khazri’s inswinging corner caught the stiff wind, evading Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph and his defenders before nestling inside the far post.

Even so, Moyes was not allowed to enjoy the moment, with some supporters singing “Are you watching David Moyes?”, a reference to his reluctance to select the Tunisia international in recent months.

Two minutes into the second half, Moyes was grim-faced on the touchline once more as Hammers defender Collins glanced Robert Snodgrass’ corner wide of Jordan Pickford to restore the visitors’ lead.

There was already a funereal atmosphere and when Sunderland defender Billy Jones was stretchered off while being given oxygen following a collision with Arthur Masuaku the gloom deepened even further.

Substitute Borini pounced on an error by Randolph to spare Sunderland another defeat, but they couldn’t snatch a valuable winner despite Byram’s dismissal for a second booking in 10 minutes of stoppage-time.

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