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FA Cup

  • 8 February 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
  • Referee: A. Taylor
  • • Attendance: 26707

Middlesbrough 1-2 Sunderland (AET): Sessegnon nets extra-time winner as Black Cats set up FA Cup fifth round meeting with Arsenal

Middlesbrough 1-2 Sunderland (AET): Sessegnon nets extra-time winner as Black Cats set up FA Cup fifth round meeting with Arsenal

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The Black Cats seal their place in the next round of the FA Cup after the Benin international scored deep in extra time after Lukas Jutkiewicz had equalised for Boro

Sunderland sealed their passage to the fifth round of the FA Cup and a home meeting with Arsenal after a 2-1 extra-time victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

The first half saw both sides looking to establish themselves in the game, with the highlight being a stunning goal from Sunderland’s Jack Colback to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute.

The second half was once again very evenly contested, and the home side drew level in the 56th minute thanks to a first goal for the club by Lukas Jutkiewicz. However, there were few other chances created, with an effort from Sunderland’s Phil Bardsley hitting the post, and it would take extra time to separate the two teams.

Little of note happened in extra time, with both sides clearly looking fatigued. But with penalties looking inevitable, Stephane Sessegnon finished well through a crowd of bodies in the 112nd minute to hand Sunderland a 2-1 win.

Middlesbrough made two changes from the side that drew 0-0 at home to Crystal Palace, with Julio Arca back from suspension to replace Faris Haroun, and a full debut coming for striker Curtis Main, as Marvin Emnes could only make the bench after hamstring problems.

The away side came into the game looking strong, making only one change from the side that beat Stoke 1-0 away from home in their last game. Frazier Campbell was brought in up front for David Meyler in the only change, while loan signings Wayne Bridge and Sotirios Kyrgiakos were both ineligible.

Both sides began the Tees-Wear derby positively, but it was Sunderland who looked the more enterprising going forward, but Boro’s goalkeeper Jason Steele looked comfortable when called upon early in the game. However, Middlesbrough were also looking to attack in the early stages, with Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet needing to deal with tame shots from Arca and Main.

The first clear opening came in the 18th minute for the home side, as a superb pass from Campbell found Larsson in space on the right. He looked to shoot while running at full speed and did so, despite Campbell having made some space in the penalty area to receive a cut-back from the Swede. However, the game largely turned into a midfield battle, with both sides struggling to assert their authority and create any more clear-cut chances.

Exactly on the half-hour, the away side had their best chance of the half. A free kick from the right was helped on by Seb Hines, and found the youngster Main, whose volleyed effort was tipped over the bar by Mignolet. The highly-rated youngster looked like Boro’s most potent attacking threat, and was living up to the great expectations placed on his young shoulders in what was only his second senior appearance for the club.

But it was clear that the home side were keen for the game to be settled within the 90 minutes, and after some good work by Kieran Richardson in the 37th minute, who cut in from the left, he found a pass to Sessegnon. A first-time lay-off from the Benin midfielder went to Michael Turner, but the defender’s effort on goal was well blocked by Middlesbrough captain Matthew Bates.

The hard work by the Premier League side paid off in the 41st minute, as a long ball was knocked down by the impressive Campbell. The ball bounced into the path of Colback, and the youngster hit a stunning half-volley into the top corner of the net, giving Sunderland a 1-0 lead. The goal sparked the game into life, and Middlesbrough went close almost immediately, with Bardsley clearing a Tony McMahon shot off the Sunderland goalline with Mignolet beaten.

The first half ended with the home side deservedly leading 1-0 thanks to Colback’s stunning goal, but Boro would have been heartened by their display.

Both sides began the second half positively, but it took until the 54th minute for either side to forge a clear chance. A superb cross came in from the left from James McClean into the penalty area, but Michael Turner could only put his header over the bar from just outside the six-yard box.

However, the away side gave their fans something to cheer just a couple of minutes later, as a long ball was played in from the right. It was knocked down by the impressive Main into the path of Jutkiewicz, who finished coolly past Mignolet to level the scores at 1-1. It was his first goal for Middlesbrough since joining permanently from Coventry City in January, and finally gave the home fans something to cheer.

The following few minutes became a midfield battle, with neither side able to create any more clear-cut chances, but in the 71st minute, Sunderland thought they had a second goal. The ball found Bardsley in space just outside the penalty area, and the former Manchester United defender sent in a shot that rattled the post and bounced clear.

However, neither side could create any more chances and could not be separated, so it would take a further 30 minutes to try to find a winner. The period started badly as two pitch invaders entered play, with one attempting an awful tackle on Middlesbrough’s Justin Hoyte, which looked like it hurt the former Arsenal defender.

The first period of extra time saw little happen of note, and penalties looked an inevitably until the 112nd minute of the game. The ball was played forward towards substitute Connor Wickham, and while he could not control it, the ball bobbled back to Sessegnon, who finished well through a crowd of bodies to give Sunderland a 2-1 lead deep into extra time.

That was how the game stayed, with Middlesbrough unable to find a response and the Black Cats progressing to the fifth round of the FA Cup to face Arsenal.

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