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Match report: Cardiff City 2 Sunderland 2
Cardiff 2 Sunderland 2
JACK COLBACK stole a point for Sunderland deep into injury-time as the Black Cats cut the gap between themselves and 17th place to just two points at Cardiff City.
Fabio Borini left the Cardiff City Stadium at half-time with exhaustion, while his Sunderland teammates delivered a perfect pick-me-up with Colback's late goal.
The diminutive midfielder fired home in the fourth minute of injury-time in South Wales after Steven Fletcher's 83rd minute effort, to cancel out Jordan Mutch and Fraizer Campbell's goals for the hosts, who were under the temporary management of David Kerslake following the dismissal of Malky Mackay yesterday.
Sunderland could have been out of the relegation zone on Saturday night had they beaten the Bluebirds, but will be relieved with winning a point at Cardiff after looking out of it for 75 minutes.
Mutch was in among the action with seconds on the clock when he was booked for simulation in the area after he fell easily from a Valentin Roberge challenge.
But he went from zero to hero on six minutes when he drove through Sunderland's defence and drilled a shot in via a deflection off Modibo Diakite.
Kim Bo-Kyung went close with a curling drive which Vito Mannone tipped over the crossbar, as Sunderland's defence creaked under the Cardiff pressure.
Steven Caulker, Peter Whittingham and former Black Cat Fraizer Campbell all went close for the Bluebirds but Sunderland slowly worked their way back into the game, and Jozy Altidore could have netted the equaliser if not for a remarkable miss.
In similar circumstances to Emanuele Giaccherini's miss at Villa Park earlier this season, the USA international conspired to miss an open goal from two yards out after Ki Sung-Yueng's shot was deflected into his path.
On the stroke of half-time, Borini's half-volley from Phil Bardsley's cross had to be pushed around the post by David Marshall.
Sunderland's second half performance was muted, and the visitors showed no signs of getting back into the game, and it got worse on 58 minutes when Campbell converted Mutch's cross to increase the advantage to two.
The Black Cats toiled and could not get out of their own half at times, but, spurred on by the introductions of Craig Gardner and Colback, they started to pile pressure on Cardiff, and Fletcher managed to poke Giaccherini's cross past Marshall.
It set up a grandstand finale, with defenders Bardsley and Roberge staying up front with the minutes ticking by. Roberge's volley was well saved by Marshall, before Giaccherini curled wide, but up popped Colback to fire a deflected effort past Marshall from Ki's cross and Roberge's clever lay-off.
Cardiff City (4-5-1): Marshall; John, Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Medel, Whittingham, Kim (Gunnarsson 79), Mutch, Noone (Cowie 72); Campbell (Cornelius 82). Subs not used: Lewis, Hudson, Odemwingie, Maynard.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Mannone; Bardsley, Diakite, Roberge, Dossena; Cattermole (Colback 74), Larsson (Gardner 74), Ki; Borini (Fletcher 46), Altidore, Giaccherini. Subs not used: Cabral, Celustka, Ba, Pickford.
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