Sunderland thrashed 10-man Cardiff to climb out of the Premier League's bottom three and push the Bluebirds closer towards relegation.

Connor Wickham's guided header from a corner gave the hosts the lead.

Fabio Borini scored Sunderland's second from the spot after Wickham was fouled by Juan Cala, who was sent off.

Sunderland 4-0 Cardiff: This win feels fantastic - Gus Poyet

Emanuele Giaccherini slotted in and Wickham nodded in another corner as the Black Cats moved out of the drop zone on goal difference.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet had spoken of his side needing a "miracle" to stay up and the prospect of avoiding relegation became more of a reality with a first home league win since 29 January.

The Black Cats have taken seven points from their last three matches and have a game in hand on the teams below them. They next travel to Manchester United before finishing the season with home fixtures against West Brom and Swansea.

Cardiff have the worst away record in the division and their survival prospects look bleak. The Bluebirds are two points from safety and are at Newcastle before ending the season at home to Chelsea.

Cardiff's run-in

  • Sat 3 May: v Newcastle (A)
  • Sun 11 May: v Chelsea (H)

The Black Cats, who had drawn at Manchester City and won at Chelsea in their last two games, applied the early pressure and Sebastian Larsson headed a Wickham cross straight at Cardiff keeper David Marshall before the visitors might have had a spot-kick.

Sunderland defender Wes Brown fell into Fraizer Campbell to stop the City striker getting a shot away, although the forward made light of any foul as he got up and chased down the loose ball as the chance went begging.

If an organised Cardiff's plan was to stifle their hosts and try to sneak a goal on the counter-attack then their strategy received a setback when Sunderland took the lead.

Sunderland 4-0 Cardiff: We have mountain to climb - Solskjaer

A Larsson corner bounced in the six-yard box before a watchful Wickham did well to steer the ball into top corner for his fourth goal in three games.

Sunderland's second came in controversial circumstances. Wickham pounced on an error by Juan Torres Ruiz - commonly known as Cala - and had his arm pulled by the centre-back in an offence which stretched to just inside the area.

Referee Phil Dowd initially played the advantage but, when Wickham failed to capitalise, he awarded the home side a penalty and showed a red card to Cala. Cardiff were furious at the decision, but Borini kept his nerve to slot home the spot-kick.

Despite being a man down, Bluebirds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent on winger Wilfried Zaha and strikers Kenwyne Jones and Craig Bellamy.

Sunderland's run-in

  • Sat 3 May: v Man Utd (A)
  • Wed 7 May: v West Brom (H)
  • Sun 11 May: v Swansea (H)

However, the closest the visitors got to a goal was when a deflected Whittingham free-kick was saved by home goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

Instead, Sunderland clinched their biggest win of the season as Borini played in Giaccherini to slot calmly past Marshall and Wickham headed in from six yards.

Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:

"Of course, they (the players) have taken a big blow, but we have got two games - we have got to win those two.

"We looked at this one as a possibility for three points but then we have got to look at the next one (against Newcastle) and Chelsea. The next two games, you have got to win them."

For a gallery of photos from Saturday's Premier League action, head to the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

Lineup, Bookings (9) & Substitutions (6)

Sunderland

  • 25 Mannone
  • 27 Vergini Booked
  • 28 Alonso
  • 33 Cattermole
  • 16 O'Shea
  • 05 Brown
  • 07 Larsson Booked (Giaccherini - 73' Booked )
  • 14 Colback (Bridcutt - 84' )
  • 10 Wickham
  • 11 Johnson (Gardner - 84' Booked )
  • 31 Borini Booked

Substitutes

  • 02 Bardsley
  • 08 Gardner
  • 17 Altidore
  • 23 Giaccherini
  • 26 Bridcutt
  • 30 Scocco
  • 32 Ustari

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 28 Théophile-Catherine
  • 35 Fabio Booked (Jones - 64' )
  • 08 Medel Booked
  • 04 Caulker
  • 27 Torres Ruiz Dismissed
  • 19 Cowie (Zaha - 45' )
  • 18 Mutch Booked
  • 10 Campbell (Bellamy - 74' )
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 29 Daehli

Substitutes

  • 06 Turner
  • 09 Jones
  • 15 Wolff Eikrem
  • 32 Lewis
  • 36 Zaha
  • 39 Bellamy
  • 42 John
Ref: Phil Dowd
Att: 42,397

Match Stats

Shots

21 6

On target

7 1

Corners

11 5

Fouls

10 11

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Sunderland 4, Cardiff City 0.

90:00 +4:38 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Sunderland 4, Cardiff City 0.

90:00 +4:07

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Santiago Vergini.

90:00 +3:49 Booking

Booking Craig Gardner (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +3:45

Foul by Craig Gardner (Sunderland).

90:00 +3:45

Wilfried Zaha (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:11

Attempt saved. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Fabio Borini.

88:46

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Steven Caulker.

87:31

Attempt missed. Kenwyne Jones (Cardiff City) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Craig Bellamy with a cross.

86:41

Foul by Liam Bridcutt (Sunderland).

86:41

Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

85:18 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Sunderland 4, Cardiff City 0. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Emanuele Giaccherini with a cross following a corner.

84:50

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Kévin Théophile-Catherine.

83:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Craig Gardner replaces Adam Johnson.

83:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Liam Bridcutt replaces Jack Colback.

82:57 Booking

Booking Fabio Borini (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

82:44

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

82:44

Mats Daehli (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:41

Attempt blocked. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

80:01

Attempt missed. Jack Colback (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Adam Johnson following a corner.

79:40

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Gary Medel.

79:39

Attempt blocked. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Johnson.

79:15

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

78:09

Delay in match Fabio Borini (Sunderland) because of an injury.

76:36 Booking

Booking Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

75:40 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Sunderland 3, Cardiff City 0. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Fabio Borini with a through ball.

74:58

Attempt missed. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Emanuele Giaccherini.

73:41 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Craig Bellamy replaces Fraizer Campbell.

72:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Emanuele Giaccherini replaces Sebastian Larsson.

71:36

Attempt saved. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jack Colback with a cross.

71:32

Attempt blocked. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.

71:27

Attempt blocked. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabio Borini.

70:10

Foul by Marcos Alonso (Sunderland).

70:10

Wilfried Zaha (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

68:36

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Kévin Théophile-Catherine.

68:33

Attempt blocked. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

68:12

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

68:12

Foul by Gary Medel (Cardiff City).

67:24

Attempt missed. Wes Brown (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

67:00

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Kenwyne Jones.

66:32

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Peter Whittingham.

64:42

Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:42

Foul by Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City).

63:54

Attempt missed. Steven Caulker (Cardiff City) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

63:51

Attempt saved. Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

63:23 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Kenwyne Jones replaces Fabio.

62:36

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

62:36

Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

61:14

Attempt missed. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jack Colback.

60:34

Attempt blocked. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabio Borini.

56:55

Attempt missed. Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross following a corner.

56:34

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Sebastian Larsson.

55:49

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

55:00

Delay in match John O'Shea (Sunderland) because of an injury.

53:40

Foul by Wes Brown (Sunderland).

53:40

Wilfried Zaha (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

53:10 Booking

Booking Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

52:40 Booking

Booking Fabio (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card.

51:52

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

51:52

Fabio (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49:17

Attempt missed. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson.

46:45

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Kévin Théophile-Catherine.

45:00

Second Half begins Sunderland 2, Cardiff City 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cardiff City. Wilfried Zaha replaces Don Cowie.

45:00 +2:37 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Sunderland 2, Cardiff City 0.

45:00 +0:57 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Sunderland 2, Cardiff City 0. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

44:31 Dismissal

Dismissal Cala (Cardiff City) is shown the red card.

44:25

Penalty conceded by Cala (Cardiff City) after a foul in the penalty area.

44:25

Penalty Sunderland. Connor Wickham draws a foul in the penalty area.

38:58 Booking

Booking Gary Medel (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

38:40

Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

38:40

Foul by Gary Medel (Cardiff City).

36:28 Booking

Booking Santiago Vergini (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

36:19

Foul by Santiago Vergini (Sunderland).

36:19

Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:26 Booking

Booking Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

35:12

Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:12

Foul by Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City).

34:16

Attempt missed. Jack Colback (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Fabio Borini with a headed pass.

32:44

Attempt blocked. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

31:52

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

31:52

Foul by Cala (Cardiff City).

31:11

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

31:11

Cala (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

30:17

Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

30:17

Foul by Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City).

25:38 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Sunderland 1, Cardiff City 0. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) header from the right side of the six yard box to the top left corner. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson with a cross following a corner.

25:00

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Don Cowie.

23:01

Foul by Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Cardiff City).

23:01

Connor Wickham (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:03

Jordon Mutch (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

22:03

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

19:26

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Fabio Borini.

16:04

Attempt missed. Don Cowie (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

15:30

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Lee Cattermole.

12:53

Foul by Gary Medel (Cardiff City).

12:53

Connor Wickham (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

12:17

Foul by Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City).

12:17

Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:36

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Santiago Vergini.

7:53

Attempt saved. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Connor Wickham.

6:38

Attempt blocked. Mats Daehli (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Peter Whittingham.

5:28

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Don Cowie.

3:23

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by David Marshall.

2:26

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Fraizer Campbell.

2:24

Attempt blocked. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

1:39

Connor Wickham (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

1:39

Dangerous play by Fabio (Cardiff City).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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