Football: Two-goal Stuani gives Middlesbrough win at Sunderland, who are still point-less

Middlesbrough's Christian Stuani (left) and Sunderland's Steven Pienaar fighting for the ball during the EPL match at the Stadium of Light on Aug 21, 2016.
Middlesbrough's Christian Stuani (left) and Sunderland's Steven Pienaar fighting for the ball during the EPL match at the Stadium of Light on Aug 21, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Middlesbrough beat Sunderland 2-1 away thanks to a first-half double from Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani in the first Premier League meeting between the north-east rivals for almost eight years.

The visitors withstood sustained pressure after the interval when Sunderland hit back through Patrick van Aanholt and then pushed for the winner. But Boro held on to record their first victory since returning to the top flight this season.

Stuani opened the scoring with a piece of individual brilliance after 12 minutes, firing a long-range shot from outside the area over the head of goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

Then, just before the interval, the 29-year-old rounded off a well-worked team goal after Adam Forshaw combined with Alvaro Negredo to split the home defence open.

Sunderland, who lost central defender John O'Shea to injury in the first half, refused to buckle and fully deserved their goal when van Aanholt struck from inside the area after keeper Brad Guzan could only parry a shot from Duncan Watmore.

But they could not prise Boro open again and David Moyes' side, who featured all three of their new signings from Manchester United, remain without a point after two games while Middlesbrough have four from their opening matches.