Jan 14 (Reuters) - Stoke City stunned Sunderland with a brilliant three-goal burst in 20 first-half minutes to win 3-1 at the Stadium of Light, despite a brave second-half fightback from the struggling Wearsiders.
Marko Arnautovic opened the scoring for Stoke in the 15th minute, rifling the ball home at the second attempt from a tight angle, and he added a second seven minutes later before Peter Crouch scored a towering header 11 minutes before halftime.
Jermaine Defoe slotted home Donald Love's long ball five minutes before the break to reduce the deficit but, despite a spirited second-half display by David Moyes' side, Sunderland could not conjure any more goals.
Sunderland, who travel to West Bromwich Albion next Saturday, slip to second from bottom of the table on 15 points while Stoke, who host Manchester United, climb to ninth on 27.
Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Neil Robinson