Blackburn Rovers moved six points clear of the relegation zone as they eased to victory, brushing aside a lacklustre Sunderland side.
Junior Hoillet and Yakubu both scored in the second half to give Steve Kean back to back wins for the first time since he took over in 2010.
Blackburn started the game brightly as Yakubu went through one on one with Mignolet but his strike was somehow acrobatically cleared off the line by Phil Bardsley.
The home side continued to dominate as Sunderland looked tired from their Quarter final tie with Everton at the weekend, but Blackburn failed to capitalize as they were wasteful in front of goal.
The Olsson twins combined down the left resulting in Martin seeing his strike from an acute angle easily saved by Mignolet, and then Grant Hanley headed over from a Pedersen free-kick.
After the interval Blackburn continued to press. Formica saw his extravagant volley tipped around the post by a fine Mignolet save. But Blackburn finally found a breakthrough. Pedersen’s long throw in to the box was nodded clear by Kyrgiakos, but Hoilett reacted quickest firing the ball home sparking the Ewood faithful in to life.
Sunderland responded but were denied a goal by a last ditch Martin Olsson tackle as McClean’s low cross looked destined to be touched home by Bendtner, but the Swedish defender somehow got back to deny the Black Cats an equaliser.
The home side looked content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they were nearly made to pay as McClean found substitute Dong-Won Ji, unmarked at the back post, but the South Korean failed to find the net as he fired over from just four yards out.
Bradley Orr replaced Formica with ten minutes to go and the substitute turned provider as Blackburn doubled their lead. Nzonzi played the ball out wide to Orr whose cross was met by the head of Yakubu and the ball nestled in to the bottom corner of Mignolet’s goal. The goal was Yakubu’s 15th of the season and he celebrated by revealing a shirt displaying the message “PRAY 4 MUAMBA” as a mark of respect for the Bolton midfielder who suffered a cardiac arrest in Bolton’s clash against Tottenham at the weekend.
It was a well deserved three points for the Lancashire side who dominated from start to finish. They defended well, looked relaxed on the ball and created a number of chances. As for Sunderland they will be disappointed with the result and their performance which was well below average. They created very little in the final third and were sloppy in defence.
Blackburn are now undefeated in their last three games and will be hoping to build on their recent run of good form when they take on Bolton at the weekend, a game which fits the ‘6pointer’ cliché.