22nd of October 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Demba Ba's late own goal salvaged a point for Sunderland against 10-man Newcastle United in the North-East derby at the Stadium of Light. Newcastle had successfully held on to the lead after Yohan Cabaye's third-minute goal until four minutes from time, despite having Cheick Tiote sent off midway through the first half. Sunderland's attitude after gaining the numerical advantage was poor but the hosts got lucky when Seb Larsson's free-kick was headed on to Ba by John O'Shea and the deflection wrong-footed Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul. The Black Cats then desperately tried to secure a late winner but a Newcastle held out thanks to a sensational performance from defender Fabricio Coloccini. Sunderland have now won only one of their last 16 games against their local rivals.
The game started very well for the Magpies as Cabaye netted on the rebound after Ba's shpt had been parried by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. Sunderland struggled to find any composure and Cabaye came close again but his long-range shot was turned over by Mignolet. Things changed after 25 minutes when Tiote was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson. Sunderland had the numerical advantage but the visitors were still the better side. Newcastle sent in James Perch for Shola Ameobi after the sending off and they almost snatched a second goal just before the break but Ba sent a bicycle kick wide from eight yards.
Sunderland failed to produce dangerous attacks after the break but they could have bagged the equaliser with 19 minutes left when Krul failed to hold on to James McClean's cross but Coloccini was perfectly positioned to repair the mistake of his keeper. The Magpies almost snatched a second on the break when Ba raced on to Cabaye's pass but failed to apply the finish. Saha volleyed into the side netting for Sunderland before the home side managed to get the equaliser when Larsson's free-kick was headed on to Ba by O'Shea, leaving Krul wrong-footed.
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill said after the game: "We were knocked back by the early goal which gives them a massive lift. They were very strong in the initial part of the game and then they had the man sent off. Numerically, we should be able to use that better but I thought at that stage we became a bit anxious. In the second half it was just the sheer pressure that led to the equalising goal. Newcastle played excellently with the 10 men. I must admit, slog or not, the noise that erupted from the stadium when we equalised was something that I will not forget."
Bet365 are offering odds of 14/1 for Sunderland to get relegated this season.
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