Helping the Cause(s)

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How Fabio Borini’s Big Penalty Kick Helps Both His Clubs
By Greg Hudson
 
With 81 minutes on the clock and the score tied 1-1, Fabio Borini stepped up to the penalty spot Saturday at Stamford Bridge with a big opportunity to help his team.
 
Correction: both his teams.
 
In the only sport where clubs can loan players to other teams for the season and get them back afterwards, a loan spell for a young player at another club can be beneficial for both teams involved. And this weekend’s Premier League fixtures are the perfect illustration.
 
The young Italian forward signed for Liverpool in the summer of 2012, but a lackluster 2012/13 campaign was cut short due to injury, and he was deemed surplus to requirements by Brendan Rodgers during the summer and was snapped up by Sunderland on a season-long loan deal.
 
And it could be a move that pays dividends for both teams involved in seasons of stark contrast. Liverpool sit in first place in the league, in striking distance of their first league title since 1990, while the Black Cats endured a disastrous first half to their league campaign and have been fighting for Premier League survival with every match, trying desperately to avoid relegation.
 
Sunderland have gone lengths to helping that cause in the past week, and have given Borini’s parent club a big boost in the process, collecting a precious point Wednesday against Liverpool’s title rivals Manchester City, and they headed to Stamford Bridge on Saturday with a view of striking a blow to Chelsea in a game of two teams fighting two different battles: Chelsea fighting for Premier League glory, and Sunderland fighting for their lives.
 
After falling 1-0 behind early, Sunderland found a response through Connor Wickham, and when American striker Jozy Altidore went down in the penalty area under Cesar Azpilicueta’s challenge with 10 minutes to go, Borini stepped up with a chance to strike a blow for both his clubs.
 
He calmly slotted home past Petr Cech to clinch a massive victory for Sunderland, and essentially give an extra 3 points to Liverpool in the process. The Reds’ 3-2 win over Sunderland’s fellow relegation-fighters Norwich City, their 11th win on the bounce, gives them a five point lead over the Blues with three matches to play.
 
Liverpool’s last league defeat came in December against the Blues at Stamford Bridge. Since then, they have gone 16 games without a loss, including their current 11-game winning streak, while Chelsea have lost three of their last six, including Saturday’s shock loss to Sunderland.
 
Chelsea travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Saturday, in a match Chelsea must win if they want to keep their fading title hopes alive, while a win for Liverpool would all but eliminate one of their principle rivals from the title race.
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