Newcastle United 1-1 Sunderland: Mitrovic saves huge point for Newcastle

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Aleksandar Mitrovic‘s 83rd minute equalizer helped Newcastle United to a critical point on Sunday at St. James Park, ending a run of six-straight Sunderland wins in the Tyne-Wear Derby.

Jermain Defoe scored just before halftime for the Black Cats, who remain 18th with 26 points. Newcastle is 19th with 25, and faces 17th place Norwich next week.

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A frenetic first few minutes was capped when Jermain Defoe took a chance off Wahbi Khazri‘s foot and belted well over the Newcastle goal.

After some time in the other end, Sunderland won a poorly-taken corner. Newcastle broke the other way, and Aleksandar Mitrovic clipped Andros Townsend‘s cross over the bar.

A terrific Khazri free kick from a dangerous area was headed on goal by Jack Rodwell, but Elliot slapped it over for a corner.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: Rafael Benitez manager of Newcastle United gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sunderland at St James' Park on March 20, 2016 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Martin Atkinson refused a penalty call when Mitrovic was NFL tackled in the box trying to get to a Townsend cross.

Jack Rodwell set Defoe up for a good chance that flashed off the outside of the goal in the 19th minute. At the other end, Townsend forced Mannone into a parry.

Younes Kaboul got a small piece of Ayoze Perez after the latter nutmegged the Sunderland back on the edge of the 18. Shelvey stepped up to the free kick, and whipped a strong low effort wide of a goal that a diving Mannone had covered.

Sunderland scored in the 44th minute, with Defoe on the business end for a tidy finish of an Elliot parry.

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Newcastle won a corner kick that was cleared just off the line by Sunderland, and the second half was on.

Mitrovic flashed a header at Mannone in the 53rd minute, as Newcastle kept pushing for an equalizer.

Elliot made an incredible stop in the 58th minute, reacting with a strong hand to push a Patrick Van Aanholt shot wide of the goal.

Sunderland put on a defending clinic in the final half-hour, and really for the whole game. Big tackles, rarely on the edge of fouls.

Newcastle would have to rise above, and Mitrovic did that metaphorically and physically when he got high at the back post and headed home a perfect Georginio Wijnaldum cross to make it 1-1. Mitrovic jumped above USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin, who had given away the ball off a foul throw.

There was a scary moment late, as Mitrovic went down after head-to-head contact and tried to force his way back into the match. Gratefully, the trainers and Rafa Benitez kept him out.