Monday 18 December 2017

Bruce's Black Cats fire blanks as 10-man Rovers earn point

Blackburn 0
Sunderland 0

Phil Medlicott

Ten-man Blackburn Rovers held out for a well-earned draw at Ewood Park last night as Steve Bruce's Sunderland couldn't find a way past Sam Allardyce's well-drilled men.

Rovers captain Christopher Samba saw red in first-half injury-time for a challenge on Danny Welbeck, but the visitors couldn't make the most of the extra man advantage, with Darren Bent guilty of spurning some golden chances for the Black Cats.

Morten Gamst Pedersen nearly opened the scoring around the quarter-hour mark with a swerving free-kick that Simon Mignolet managed to tip over the bar.

El-Hadji Diouf then sent a low cross into the danger zone which Titus Bramble intercepted before Danny Welbeck saw an acrobatic attempt go well wide.

Bent squandered a glorious opportunity after latching on to a poor header from Gael Givet, with the Black Cats' top scorer shooting straight at Paul Robinson in a one-on-one situation. Pedersen called Mignolet into action again with another free-kick, the Belgian goalkeeper getting his fist to the delivery.

In first-half stoppage-time Samba bundled down Welbeck just outside the box and the Rovers captain was dismissed, with Phil Bardsley striking the resultant free-kick against the wall and Bent firing the rebound wide.

Bent wasted another good chance at the start of the second half, woefully misdirecting his header from an Ahmed Elmohamady cross.

Sunderland began to turn the screw as they tried to break down the Rovers resistance, with Steed Malbranque chipping just over from distance.

But the hosts held firm and began to look increasingly comfortable as the minutes ticked down. Benjani even threatened to put Sam Allardyce's men ahead, but his shot on the turn was wayward.

Bolo Zenden almost snatched a late winner for the visitors but his header bounced into the arms of Robinson, and the 'keeper rescued his side again soon after, tipping Asamoah Gyan's curler just wide to ensure the spoils were shared.

Irish Independent

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