Tireless Sunderland hold Championship title favourites Burnley at Turf Moor
Sunderland produced a well-organised display to claim a hard-earned point against league leaders Burnley in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday evening.
The match ended goalless with the Black Cats becoming the first team to keep a clean sheet at Turf Moor this season. Substitute Amad came closest to scoring but his looping attempt from 18 yards out hit the woodwork.
Jack Clarke created the game’s first opportunity in the opening 10 minutes, chasing down a loose ball and forcing Joe Maatsen into a mistake but Louis Beyer’s timely interception denied Joe Gelhardt as he was racing in on goal.
Anthony Patterson was called into action on 25 minutes to deny Taylor Harwood-Bellis from point-blank range after the Black Cats initially failed to clear their lines from a Burnley corner.
Sunderland came close to breaking the deadlock on the half-hour mark when Gelhardt superbly won back possession and set Patrick Roberts on his way, but Muric was well possession to push Roberts’ shot away from goal for a corner.
Dan Neil connected sweetly with the ball from the resulting corner on the edge of the box, but Muric was equal to his effort keeping the scores level.
Burnley missed a glaring chance in the closing stages of the first half, Josh Brownhill found an unmarked Ashley Barnes inside the visitor’s box, but the experienced striker’s shot sailed over Patterson’s crossbar.
The hosts pushed forward and almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time if it wasn’t for Lynden Gooch’s last-ditch defending that denied Brownhill from inside the visitor’s danger area.
Vincent Kompany’s side controlled possession in the opening 20 minutes of the second half but struggled to find an opening as Sunderland’s defence held firm.
The Black Cats came within inches of taking the lead inside the final 20 minutes when Roberts beat the offside trap and found Amad on the edge of the box.
The Ivorian’s deflected shot looped over a stranded Muric but cannoned off the underside of his crossbar before being cleared to safety.
Sunderland had the ball in the back of Burnley’s net with just five minutes remaining, but Abdoullah Ba’s flicked effort was disallowed for offside.
In a pulsating ending to the match, both teams continued to push forward in search of a match-winning goal but neither could find a breakthrough in added time.
The draw keeps Sunderland’s Play-Off push alive while Burnley move a point closer to a Premier League return.
Burnley XI: Muric, Roberts, Harwood-Bellis, Beyer, Maatsen, Cullen, Brownhill, Benson (Vitinho 82’), Zaroury (Gudmundsson 67’), Tella, Barnes (Obafemi 79’)
Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Ekdal, Cork, Twine.
Sunderland XI: Patterson, Hume, Batth ©, O’Nien, Gooch, Neil, Ekwah (Michut 63’), Roberts (Lihadji 76’), Pritchard (Ba 76’), Clarke (Cirkin 88’), Gelhardt (Amad 63’)
Subs not used: Bass, Anderson.