Ten-man Sunderland fought back from a goal behind to draw with Stoke and claim a vital point in their battle to stay in the Premier League.
Jonathan Walters gave Stoke an early lead when he pounced to score a rebound following Charlie Adam's corner.
Sunderland deserved more - Di Canio
And the hosts were reduced to 10 men later in the first half after Craig Gardner's dangerous lunge on Adam.
However, John O'Shea equalised, firing the ball home from five yards out after a Sebastian Larsson set-piece.
The hosts had a late chance to snatch all three points when Danny Rose shot from the edge of the penalty area, but it clipped the outside of the post.
Sunderland, woeful in the first half, showed their character to fight back and secure a draw after Walters's early goal and Gardner's red card had left them facing their 17th league defeat of the season.
However, a goal from captain O'Shea, only his second for the club, was enough to take the Black Cats up to 15th, three points above Wigan who occupy the final relegation place.
While the Potters missed out on only their third away league win of the season, they still lifted themselves up to 41 points, six clear of the bottom three.
Sunderland's 1-1 draw against Stoke means the Black Cats have not won a Monday night match in 18 attempts, a run that stretches back 11 years
Before the match, 11 of the 12 Sunderland players who were involved in their shock 1-0 FA Cup final win against Leeds 40 years ago were paraded to the Stadium of Light crowd, but the celebrations did not last long.
Poor marking from Adam's ninth-minute corner allowed Walters a free header and although it was blocked by Danny Graham, the rebound fell kindly to the Republic of Ireland international, who blasted the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
The hosts' cause was not helped by Gardner's 34th minute dismissal, although the midfielder could have few complaints following a reckless challenge on Adam, who was lucky not to suffer a serious injury.
However, motivated by the enthusiastic Di Canio, who constantly shouted instructions at his team, Sunderland responded well in the second half, with winger Adam Johnson an instrumental figure.
O'Shea's goal, coming after Stoke failed to deal with Larsson's corner, was a deserved equaliser and turned the match with the home side looking the more likely to get a winner.
The only negative for the hosts was another blank night for striker Graham, who has now failed to score in his 11 appearances for the Black Cats since joining in a £5m move from Swansea at the end of January.
But Sunderland's relegation fears were nearly eased late on when Rose's shot scraped the outside of the post as Stoke ended up relieved to escape with a point.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"It was a hard-earned point, we knew it would be hard.
"You have to give Sunderland a lot of credit, they played with a lot of spirit and we are pleased to get a point to get to 41 points. It's one of those funny seasons when everything is not sorted out yet.
"We're disappointed not to take the three points which would have made us safe but we are 11th in the Premier League with two games to go. We can still finish in the top half."
Substitution Phil Bardsley is brought on as a substitute for Adam Johnson.
Drilled right-footed shot by Steven Nzonzi. John O'Shea gets a block in.
90:00 +0:48 Substitution
Substitution Kenwyne Jones replaces Peter Crouch.
David Vaughan produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the goal.
James McClean takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Shawcross. Free kick awarded for a foul by Jonathan Walters on Danny Rose. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Adam Johnson.
The ball is delivered by Adam Johnson, Robert Huth makes a clearance.
Substitution David Vaughan is brought on as a substitute for Sebastian Larsson.
Matthew Etherington takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Steven Nzonzi produces a left-footed shot from close in that clears the bar.
Matthew Etherington takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Danny Graham.
The ball is sent over by Geoff Cameron, clearance made by Sebastian Larsson.
Direct free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
Substitution Matthew Etherington on for Charlie Adam.
Adam Johnson challenges Ryan Shotton unfairly and gives away a free kick.
Charlie Adam produces a cross, John O'Shea manages to make a clearance.
The ball is sent over by Adam Johnson.
Danny Rose has an effort at goal from just outside the box that bounces off the post.
Charlie Adam has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide left of the goal.
Charlie Adam delivers the ball, John O'Shea gets a block in. Corner taken left-footed by Charlie Adam, Simon Mignolet makes a save.
Geoff Cameron produces a cross, Alfred N'Diaye makes a clearance.
Effort on goal by Charlie Adam from 35+ yards. Save made by Simon Mignolet.
Shot from 20 yards by Dean Whitehead. Comfortable save by Simon Mignolet.
Dean Whitehead gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Johnson. Adam Johnson delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Cameron Jerome. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
Corner taken left-footed by Charlie Adam, Simon Mignolet makes a comfortable save.
Steven Nzonzi concedes a free kick for a foul on James McClean. Danny Rose takes the free kick.
Assist on the goal came from Sebastian Larsson.
62:52 Goal scored
Goal! - John O'Shea - Sunderland 1 - 1 Stoke John O'Shea fires in a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Sunderland 1-1 Stoke.
Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line,
James McClean challenges Steven Nzonzi unfairly and gives away a free kick. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
The ball is swung over by Adam Johnson, clearance by Jonathan Walters.
Steven Nzonzi takes a shot from 20 yards. Simon Mignolet makes a comfortable save.
Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line, John O'Shea takes a shot. Clearance by Dean Whitehead.
Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Blocked by John O'Shea.
Centre by Charlie Adam. The official flags Peter Crouch offside. Free kick taken by John O'Shea.
Effort on goal by Adam Johnson from 20 yards. Save made by Asmir Begovic.
Adam Johnson takes a inswinging corner.
Sebastian Larsson takes a shot from 20 yards. Blocked by Steven Nzonzi.
The ball is swung over by James McClean, Ryan Shotton manages to make a clearance.
The referee gets the second half started.
Substitution Marc Wilson leaves the field to be replaced by Geoff Cameron.
45:00 +3:11 Half time
Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.
Foul by Dean Whitehead on Jack Colback, free kick awarded. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Adam Johnson.
Charlie Adam delivers the ball, Cameron Jerome has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
The assistant referee signals for offside against Peter Crouch. Free kick taken by John O'Shea.
The ball is swung over by Danny Rose, Asmir Begovic makes a comfortable save.
Direct free kick taken by Jack Colback.
Booking Steven Nzonzi receives a caution.
Jonathan Walters takes a shot. Blocked by Jack Colback. Steven Nzonzi concedes a free kick for a foul on Alfred N'Diaye.
Shot by Alfred N'Diaye. Steven Nzonzi gets a block in.
Sebastian Larsson concedes a free kick for a foul on Peter Crouch. Ryan Shawcross takes the direct free kick.
The ball is sent over by Alfred N'Diaye, Asmir Begovic makes a comfortable save.
Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
Booking Sebastian Larsson is cautioned by the ref for dissent.
Dismissal Craig Gardner is sent off by the referee.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Craig Gardner on Charlie Adam.
Dean Whitehead restarts play with the free kick.
Booking Carlos Cuellar booked.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Cameron Jerome by Carlos Cuellar.
Cameron Jerome gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Danny Rose. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
The ball is crossed by Cameron Jerome, clearance made by Carlos Cuellar.
The ball is sent over by Craig Gardner.
Craig Gardner produces a cross, Ryan Shawcross makes a clearance.
Foul by Charlie Adam on James McClean, free kick awarded. Sebastian Larsson takes the free kick.
Jonathan Walters concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack Colback. Direct free kick taken by Danny Rose.
Effort from outside the box by James McClean goes wide right of the target.
The ball is swung over by Charlie Adam, comfortable save by Simon Mignolet.
James McClean challenges Charlie Adam unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Charlie Adam, clearance by James McClean.
Adam Johnson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Dean Whitehead from the left by-line, save by Simon Mignolet.
Charlie Adam challenges James McClean unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Adam Johnson, Steven Nzonzi makes a clearance.
Cameron Jerome gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Craig Gardner. Carlos Cuellar restarts play with the free kick.
James McClean delivers the ball, save by Asmir Begovic.
Shot comes in from Craig Gardner from the free kick.
Booking Dean Whitehead goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
Unfair challenge on Adam Johnson by Dean Whitehead results in a free kick.
James McClean takes a shot. Blocked by Dean Whitehead. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson from the right by-line, Ryan Shawcross manages to make a clearance.
Unfair challenge on James McClean by Robert Huth results in a free kick. John O'Shea takes the free kick.
Assist by Charlie Adam.
8:06 Goal scored
Goal! - Jonathan Walters - Sunderland 0 - 1 Stoke Jonathan Walters fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box to the top left corner of the goal. Sunderland 0-1 Stoke.
Corner taken by Charlie Adam, Jonathan Walters takes a shot. Danny Graham manages to make a clearance.
The ball is delivered by Danny Graham, clearance made by Robert Huth. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson from the right by-line. Shot from just outside the box by Sebastian Larsson goes over the crossbar.
Charlie Adam sends in a cross, clearance made by Danny Rose.
A cross is delivered by Marc Wilson, Carlos Cuellar makes a clearance.
The ball is crossed by Craig Gardner, save by Asmir Begovic.
A cross is delivered by Craig Gardner, clearance made by Robert Huth.
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