The visitors skipper Max Power was dismissed in the 66th minute and Bradford winger Sean Scannell was also shown a red card in the seven minutes referee Anthony Backhouse added on at the end of the match.
Sunderland went in front after 20 minutes through Josh Maja after the home side failed to clear Aiden McGeady’s cross, although the Bradford players claimed a handling offence in the build-up.
Bradford equalised in the 51st minute when Kelvin Mellor’s long throw was headed on first by Nat Knight-Percival and then by Ryan McGowan for Anthony O’Connor to hook the ball in at the far post.
However, Jack Baldwin restored Sunderland’s lead two minutes later. The Bradford defence failed to clear Chris Maguire’s free-kick and Baldwin scored with a low shot into the corner.
Bradford were handed the chance for a second equaliser in the 66th minute when they were given a penalty after Max Power first fouled Jack Payne and was then was sent off for kicking out while he was on the ground.
Former Bradford keeper Jon Mclaughlin saved Payne’s spot kick and then diverted his follow-up shot for a corner.
The home side also finished with ten men when Scannell first fouled George Honeyman and then pushed him to the ground.