Sunderland had to battle back from 2-0 down to beat Darlington 4-2 in Thursday’s pre-season friendly, in which Emanuele Giaccherini netted twice.
Dick Advocaat’s men made a sluggish start at Heritage Park and trailed to Stephen Thompson’s goal after just eight minutes, the forward capitalising on Lee Cattermole’s error to rifle home from 20 yards.
Adam Mitchell doubled the hosts’ advantage 10 minutes later, latching onto a long ball and finishing with confidence.
A strong Sunderland side featuring the likes of Jermain Defoe, Connor Wickham and Adam Johnson eventually started the comeback when Giaccherini converted from close range.
Danny Graham scored the leveller early in the second half following a jinking run, but Darlington were proving spirited opponents and spurned the chance to regain the lead when Thompson’s penalty was saved by Vito Mannone.
That miss proved costly when when Wickham made it 3-2 just past the hour mark, with Giaccherini grabbing his second from outside the box soon after.
Advocaat, who signed a new one-year deal at the Stadium of Light last month, will now take his side to the United States to continue their pre-season preparations.
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