Jermain Defoe netted the equaliser as Sunderland opened their account for the new Premier League season with a battling 1-1 home draw against Swansea City.
Sunderland conceded seven goals in losing their opening two fixtures, prompting Dick Advocaat to arrange an emergency meeting to address his side’s dismal early-season form.
When Bafetimbi Gomis put Swansea in front on the stroke of half-time on Saturday, that disappointing run looked set to continue.
However, Defoe drifted through the Swansea defence shortly after the hour mark to restore parity with a neat finish.
Swansea pushed to re-establish their lead, with Jonjo Shelvey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Gomis all denied by the impressive Costel Pantilimon, while substitute Steven Fletcher came agonisingly close to clinching all three points for the hosts.
The result maintains Swansea’s unbeaten start to the season and sees Sunderland register their first point of the campaign.
Danny Graham faced his former club as one of three changes made by Advocaat, while Ki Sung-yueng – a former Sunderland loanee – lost his race to be fit for a return to the Stadium of Light, despite suggestions during the week that he had shaken off a hamstring problem.
Sunderland looked re-energised after their crisis talks, but – as on-field tensions began to simmer – Jeremain Lens and Lee Cattermole both picked up yellow cards.
The hosts’ industrious approach was, however, limiting Swansea’s attacking threat, with Gomis sending a 20-yard strike down the throat of Pantilimon in a rare opportunity for Garry Monk’s men.
Graham got an overhead kick on target for the home side, held by Lukasz Fabianski via a deflection off Jack Cork, but Sunderland were momentarily reduced to 10 men following a clash of heads between Montero and Billy Jones.
Advocaat’s side should arguably have been down another man when the already-booked Lens clumsily felled Montero in Jones’ absence, but Swansea broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time.
Gomis latched onto a perfectly weighted Kyle Naughton ball down his right-hand side to fire a low effort across Pantilimon for his eighth goal in nine Premier League matches.
Gomis and Andre Ayew delivered the goals in both Swansea’s opening fixtures this season and the Ghana international almost got in on the act once again when, unmarked, he headed against the left-hand post from a Shelvey delivery.
Lens then had the ball in the back of the net at the other end, the Dutchman rightly flagged for offside, but he was on hand to provide the assist when Defoe levelled.
Defoe spotted a gap and slipped through the Swansea defence to meet Lens’ pass and slot home.
A determined Swansea pressed to restore their advantage and Shelvey forced Pantilimon into a diving save with a shot from range, before Sigurdsson did the same moments later.
And there was one more heroic part for Pantilimon to play – the Romania goalkeeper getting a strong hand to a powerful Gomis header to protect a valuable point.
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