Jermain Defoe scored twice as Sunderland beat Aston Villa 3-1 to leave the visitors seven points adrift at the bottom and facing an almost impossible task to survive.
Patrick van Aanholt's deflected drive gave Sunderland the lead on the half-hour before Carles Gil levelled with a spectacular volley after 63 minutes.
But Defoe scored twice in the final 20 minutes to take his season's total to nine as Sunderland ended a five-game losing streak.
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