A last-gasp own-goal from Emanuel Pogatetz gave Sunderland a 3-2 win over Middlesbrough and ensured Roy Keane’s side will be playing Premier League football again next season.
Boro manager Gareth Southgate will be looking nervously over his shoulder as his team sit now just four points above the relegation zone with two games to play.
A see-saw encounter looked to be heading for a draw after goals from Alfonso Alves and Tuncay Sanli for the visitors cancelled out strikes from Danny Higginbotham and Michael Chopra.
However, Keane’s players lived up to their reputation as late goal specialists with their injury time winner.
Any thoughts of a cautious derby encounter were dispelled as both teams scored in an explosive opening.
The visitors struck first when club-record signing Alves set up Turkey striker Sanli in the fourth minute.
Brazil international Alves progressed down the left channel and slipped a pass into the path of Tuncay who drilled a powerful 12-yard shot past goalkeeper Craig Gordon and into the goal.
Boro’s joy proved to be short lived as Black Cats defender Higginbotham levelled for the home team two minutes later.
Wales defender Danny Collins curled in an inviting cross which the former Manchester United player met with a powerful header to score from the penalty spot.
Former Newcastle striker Chopra had the next clear-cut chance for the home team but could only steer his shot wide after finding himself space inside the six-yard area.
Boro were next to attack as the early pace showed no sign of abating but Tuncay saw his header from England winger Stewart Downing’s cross bounce narrowly wide of the post.
The home team took the lead for the first time in the game shortly before half-time through a superb strike from ex-England under-21 forward Chopra.
The diminutive striker turned England defender David Wheater with ease before curling a precise shot past Brad Jones in the ‘Boro goal and into the top corner.
Newcastle-born Chopra, who suffered disappointment against his home club last Saturday, was faring much better in this derby clash as he threatened the ‘Boro goal with two efforts which Jones did well to save.
Just as the Black Cats were starting to sense an important victory, the away team snatched an equaliser when Alves scuffed the ball into the net after receiving the ball from Julio Arca’s deflected shot.
With time running out Darryl Murphy and Pogatetz challenged for a header which resulted in the ‘Boro man deflecting the ball past a helpless Jones to send the home fans into ecstasy.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!