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Wijnaldum rues missed opportunity despite late Newcastle leveller

Georginio Wijnaldum rued a missed opportunity for Newcastle United despite Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late equaliser earning a 1-1 draw against Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday.

The Serbia striker headed in Wijnaldum’s cross with seven minutes remaining to grab a point for Rafael Benitez’s men at St James’ Park after Jermain Defoe’s first-half opener had the visitors on the brink of victory.

The draw ends a run of six consecutive derby wins for Sunderland, but keeps Newcastle second from bottom in the Premier League, three points adrift of safety with eight matches remaining.

“We were disappointed with the first half especially because we conceded a goal and didn’t make the chances,” Wijnaldum, 25, said to Sky Sports.

“It is a really important goal because we didn’t lose. Now we must collect points but I am disappointed because I wanted to win this game and I think we had great opportunities to win this game, so I’m not very happy.

“If you look at the whole game I think we had to win, but it is a draw and now we have to go on.”

Wijnaldum had called for greater fight and spirit from Newcastle in the build-up to Saturday’s game and he felt that was evident.

He said: “Yes, I think we did it, but we did it [in] more games – we went behind also against Manchester United and we still come back, but yes still I’m not happy because we wanted to win.

“I think we had to win but this is football, we have played a draw and we must go on.”

Newcastle are back in action against relegation rivals Norwich City at Carrow Road after the international break.

Sun 20 Mar, 2016
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