West Ham falls 3-0 in final EPL match
LONDON (SE) - Bolo Zenden ended his Sunderland career with a goal as the Black Cats thrashed relegated West Ham 3-0 at Upton Park on Sunday to secure a top ten finish.
Zenden opened the scoring early on before second-half strikes from Stephane Sessegnon and Cristian Riveros sealed a one-sided victory.
Dutchman Zenden is leaving the Stadium of Light when his contract expires this summer and Sunderland boss Steve Bruce said: "We are disappointed Bolo wants to move on but he wants to play.
"I have been there myself and I wish him well. He is a great pro and if everybody was like him my job would be very easy. There are too many bad things written about footballers but Bolo has been exemplary."
West Ham's demotion to the Championship was sealed by last weekend's 3-2 defeat at Wigan.
Hammers fans hoping to end their miserable season on a high were left disappointed as the hosts, minus the departing Scott Parker and top scorer Demba Ba, crumbled.
Freddie Sears and stand-in captain Thomas Hitzselsperger both called Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet into action in the opening exchanges.
Sunderland took the lead in fortuitous circumstances when Ahmed Elmohamady's cross appeared to go in off Zenden's shoulder.
Sessegnon doubled the deficit with a blistering 25-yard drive before Riveros finished off Jordan Henderson's centre late on.
The victory would have been by a greater margin but for Rob Green smartly tipping wide Jack Colback's strike.
Bruce was delighted to see his side finish above north east rivals Newcastle, particularly after their mid-season slump in form.
He added: "We have had a terrible run but we have all of a sudden won three out of the last five and got back-to-back away wins, which propelled us up into tenth.
"If we had not had the problems we had, and we have had lots of problems, I think we could have got there a little but quicker.
"Considering the problems we had we can be very pleased with the achievement and we finished above Newcastle, which will make everybody smile."
The defeat does little top aid caretaker manager Kevin Keen's bid to land the job on a full time basis.
Keen is still predicting a bright future for the London club.
He said: "Today was not as enjoyable as the rest of the week. The rest of the week went quite well but this was a harsh lesson for me.
"We had a go early on but after the first goal, which went in off Zenden's shoulder, it turned a little bit. I'll take it as a good experience and hopefully I will learn from it.
"This club has a great future, with the young players we have got. Five of them started today and we have at least three more.
"I think they can be the bedrock of a successful Championship team next year.
"Hopefully whoever becomes the manager will adopt that approach and take West Ham back into the Premier League this time next year."