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Stephane Sessegnon scored on his West Bromwich Albion debut against former club Sunderland to help claim a 3-0 win at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
The Benin forward left the Stadium of Light on transfer deadline day to join West Brom in a club-record deal, and it took less than 20 minutes for him to find the net, before Liam Ridgewell added a second. Morgan Amalfitano scored a third late on as the hosts comfortably cruised to the points.
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke was without strikers Shane Long and Matej Vydra due to injury, but Sessegnon was able to start the game after receiving his work permit. Meanwhile, Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio welcomed back captain John O'Shea from suspension and handed a first start to Liverpool loanee Fabio Borini.
West Brom were almost gifted a goal inside five minutes when goalkeeper Keiren Westwood was caught outside his box and Nicolas Anelka went dangerously close to stealing the ball. It did not take the hosts long to score their first home Barclays Premier League goal of the season, however, as, after Westwood had denied Anelka at close range, Sessegnon followed up to fire in the rebound with a thumping volley. The 29-year-old, who scored 17 goals in 87 appearances for Sunderland, refused to celebrate the goal against his former employers.
Sunderland's best chance of the first half fell to Adam Johnson, but the winger's firm strike was deflected just wide of Boaz Myhill's post after Ridgewell had thrown his body in the way. At the other end, Amalfitano, who provided the cross that led to the opening goal, went close with a stinging shot that was deflected over the top by Modibo Diakite in the 29th minute.
Sunderland came out fighting after the break and dominated proceedings, but other than a driven Craig Gardner free-kick that was deflected wide, they failed to threaten. Sessegnon might have grabbed his second goal just short of the hour after he turned Diakite in the box, but he struck a first-time volley high over the crossbar.
There were claims for handball when a shot from Sunderland substitute Jozy Altidore appeared to strike Jonas Olsson in front of goal, but referee Phil Dowd awarded a corner and not a penalty. Anelka went close to finding the net in the 68th minute but only after his header took a deflection off Ondrej Celustka and went narrowly wide.
Steven Fletcher missed a chance to level for Sunderland when he volleyed over from 10 yards out, and things got worse as the Scot fell awkwardly and had to go off with a shoulder injury. Di Canio's side were forced to play with 10 men as they had made three substitutions and within a few minutes it was 2-0. Amalfitano's cross found Ridgewell arriving late and the defender steered his volley in at the near post with the help of a slight deflection.
Sessegnon was given a standing ovation from both sets of supporters as he was replaced by youngster Saido Berahino in the 89th minute. West Brom wrapped up the three points in style as Amalfitano grabbed a deserved goal, collecting the ball on the right from Victor Anichebe and blasting into the far corner in injury time.
West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke: "When you have to wait this long for your first win there is some relief.
"It has been frustrating, particularly at home the performances haven't always been good. Today we got the breaks and we ran out deserved winners.
"Sessegnon did what we brought him here to do. He is clever on the ball, bright, an entertainer and has goals in him too. It was a very pleasing debut for him.
"I think he showed good respect to the Sunderland fans. They loved him as a player and in his own way he is an engaging character. He decided not to celebrate so that's fine with me. If he wants us to celebrate more than him, I'd be happy with that every week.
"I said when we brought Morgan Amalfitano to the club that he might surprise one or two people. One of the reasons we brought him in was because his assists record in the French league is good and he had a hand in both goals today, especially the second.
"And he got the added bonus of scoring at the end too. I'm pleased because to have a home debut like that is really good and I hope he can live up to it in the future."
Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio: "As a strong man as I am, I am not worried, my head is always up, maybe if we win against Peterborough in the next round [of the Capital One Cup, on Tuesday] maybe that can give us an extra lift.
"We need to take the best, which is very little, from today's game, and go again. We need to be quick because we are not a team that have been together two or three years, but I really believe that if we can get a result together we can come together.
"The players have to help themselves and myself. We are down very deep but we have to make sure that we get a lift.”
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|26 Oct 2013||v Liverpool (A)|
|02 Nov 2013||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|09 Nov 2013||v Chelsea (A)|