SUNDERLAND’S cup adventure is over after a second half implosion at Hull City scuppered their chances of a second trip to Wembley.
The Capital One Cup runners-up conceded three times in nine minutes at the KC Stadium, as Steve Bruce secured a third win of the season against his former club to move into the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1930.
Sunderland could have no complaints at the outcome after being persistently guilty of sloppiness and possession, while struggling to muster any attacking threat.
They were fortunate not to be a goal down by half-time after Oscar Ustari kept out Sone Aluko’s weak penalty.
But after conceding a soft 68th minute opener when Curtis Davies headed home Tom Huddlestone’s free-kick, Sunderland collapsed with ex-Black Cats midfielder David Meyler netting the second before a horrible Lee Cattermole back-pass gifted Matty Fryatt the third.
Gus Poyet made six changes from the Capital One Cup final, including leaving out Wembley scorer Fabio Borini, with Steven Fletcher and Nacho Scocco both given the chance to get vital minutes under their belts.
Oscar Ustari replaced Vito Mannone in goal, Andrea Dossena and Santiago Vergini were introduced to defence at the expense of Marcos Alonso and Wes Brown, and Emanuele Giaccherini took the place of Adam Johnson.
Hull boss Steve Bruce made four changes to the side which lost 4-1 against Newcastle, with James Chester, Sone Aluko, Yannick Sagbo and Matty Fryatt introduced to the starting XI.
The Tigers were denied by the woodwork in the fourth minute when Maynor Figueroa delivered a cross from the left which inadvertantly crashed off the top of the crossbar.
Sunderland, playing a new formation with Giaccherini operating in behind Scocco and Fletcher, struggled to keep possession in the exchanges that followed, with the Black Cats launching too many aimless long balls forward.
But the Black Cats produced a flowing move in the 19th minute after a stunning crossfield ball from Lee Cattermole picked out Giaccherini on the right-hand side of the area.
Giaccherini back-heeled into the path of Phil Bardsley, whose driven low cross was skied over the top by Scocco.
Hull went close in the 25th minute when ex-Sunderland winger Ahmed Elmohamady delivered an excellent cross from the right which was met by a diving header from Fryatt that bounced just wide of the far post.
Seven minutes later, the Tigers were awarded a penalty after Sone Aluko was clipped on the turn by Seb Larsson.
But January signing Ustari proved his mettle as he dived low to his right to keep out Aluko’s spot-kick.
Ustari showed smart reflexes again in the 38th minute when he turned behind Liam Rosenior’s angled drive from the right-hand side of the area.
HALF-TIME Hull 0 Sunderland 0
The second half began in scrappier fashion than the engaging opening 45 minutes, with both sides struggling to maintain possession.
But after a turgid opening to the half, Hull went ahead in the 68th minute, with a goal of frightening simplicity.
Tom Huddlestone curled in a free-kick from near the right-hand corner flag and Curtis Davies got above John O’Shea at the far post to head into the far corner with Ustari left motionless.
Four minutes later, Bruce’s men doubled their advantage when David Meyler beat Cattermole - already on a yellow card - to a 50-50 on the right flank, which left him with a clear run on goal.
Meyler charged into the penalty area and kept his cool to slot it beyond Ustari and inside the near post.
A third arrived for Hull in the 77th minute when Cattermole delivered a horrible back pass straight to Fryatt.
The striker had time to pick his spot and he slotted it coolly into the far corner.
FULL-TIME Hull 3 Sunderland 0
HULL: McGregor, Rosenior, Chester, Davies, Figueroa, Elmohamady (Quinn 81), Huddlestone, Meyler, Aluko (Koren 67), Sagbo (Boyd 58), Fryatt. Subs: Harper, Bruce, Faye, Henderson. Booked: Huddlestone (15)
SUNDERLAND: Ustari, Bardsley, O’Shea, Vergini, Dossena, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Giaccherini (Johnson 67), Fletcher, Scocco (Borini 67). Subs not used: Mannone, Cuellar, Celustka, Bridcutt, Ki. Booked: Cattermole (30), Scocco (66)