AMSTERDAM – Jozy Altidore worked an active half-hour sub shift as Sunderland completed their Premier League relegation escape with a 2-0 home win over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday.
The US ace put it some notable work in a target forward role as part of a solid overall appearance. However, Altidore was also rescued by a questionable offside flag when he put a close-range shot wide despite it being served up on the so-called silver platter in the 66th minute.
Thanks to their first four-game EPL win streak since 2000, Sunderland climbed three rungs to 14th place and secured survival despite being rooted to the bottom of the table on Christmas.
Elsewhere, Brad Guzan and Aston Villa were bowled over late in a 4-0 defeat at title hunters Manchester City.
The former Chivas USA star logged five stops, some of which helped keep the game scoreless until Edin Dzeko broke the ice after 64 minutes of play. Guzan made a fine early kick save on Yaya Touré and later added a diving job to deny Aleksandar Kolarov's free kick just before the City breakthrough.
One spot behind Sunderland on goal differential, Villa have now dropped four straight on the road.
In Norway, Mikkel Diskerud came on for the second half to notch two assists as Rosenborg ran away with a 10-2 NM Cupen verdict at local fourth-flight side Kolstad. The nine-time tournament champions progressed to the third round proper, which will be played on June 5-6.
Meanwhile, Aron Jóhannsson sat out with an nagging ankle injury as AZ Alkmaar took the first leg of the Dutch Eredivisie's Europa League playoff semifinal series, 3-0 against visiting Heerenveen.