A 74th-minute goal from Jeremain Lens secured Sunderland a battling 1-0 friendly win over Hannover at the HDI Arena.
The Dutchman’s first goal for the club was an eye-catching strike from just outside the box, but the visitors’ victory owed as much to goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, who saved a penalty in the 89th minute.
John O’Shea was harshly adjudged to have brought down Charlison Benschop in the box, but justice was served as Pantilimon pulled off a superb double save to preserve his side’s hard-earned lead.
In a game of few chances, Jermain Defoe went close to giving Sunderland an early advantage with a snap-shot that found the side-netting, while the hosts’ most threatening moment was provided by Edgar Prib, who saw his 24th-minute strike parried away by Pantilimon.
The result marked a positive response from the visitors to the disappointing midweek 2-0 defeat to Doncaster Rovers and boss Dick Advocaat will be heartened by impressive performances from Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Coates and midfielder Lens.
Sunderland open their Premier League campaign next Saturday with a trip to Leicester City.
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