New boss Sam Allardyce watched on as Sunderland U21's progression into the Quarter Finals of the Premier League International Cup moved one step closer after they were held to a 1-1 draw by German outfit, Borussia Monchengladbach, at the Stadium of Light on Monday night.
Mickael Mandron saw a late penalty saved after his earlier goal was cancelled out by a brilliant effort from Gladbach's Marlon Ritter.
Die Fohlen themselves missed a penalty in the first half but did enough to secure the point which delays Sunderland's passage to the Quarter Finals.
BECOME A WRITER
Do you have what it takes? Sign up today and send over your 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay3
It was the German side who started the better when Thomas Kruas stung the palms of Sunderland keeper, Max Stryjek, and a matter of three minutes later, the visitors were awarded a penalty.
A long ball over the top caught out Sunderland right-back, Adam Matthews, and Gladbach striker, Mario Rodriguez latched onto it before being brought down by Stryjek.
However, despite sending Stryjek the wrong way, Bilal Sezer rolled his penalty past the post.
As the half wore on, Sunderland began to grow into the game, and three minutes before the interval, Ethan Robson almost opened the scoring, only to see his wicked 25-yard drive whistle past the post.
Sunderland were piling the pressure on their German visitors, and created the game's best opening, when Liam Agnew created some space and slid a pass through to Mandron, only for the Frenchman to arrow his left-footed drive straight at Gladbach keeper, Martin Kompalla.
However, Mandron made no mistake early in the second half as his goal put the Black Cats in the driving seat.
American, Lynden Gooch muscled his way down the left-hand side and his whipped cross across the face of goal was turned home by Mandron, for his fourth goal this season and his second in the International Cup.
Gladbach remained unperturbed and almost equalised five minutes later when the dangerous Ritter created some space for himself before flashing a 25-yard drive wide of Stryjek's post.
However, Ritter wasn’t so wasteful on 80 minutes when his stunning free-kick nestled into Stryjek’s far-right corner to draw the visitor’s level. Gladbach’s talisman; who has netted 7 times in 11 appearances in the Regionalliga West Division, had seen his first free-kick attempt blocked by Mandron’s arm, but he made no mistake when given a second opportunity.
Sunderland earned themselves a golden chance to win the game right at the death after some neat link-up play, Rees Greenwood was brought down in the area, only for Mandron to see his penalty saved by the impressive Kompalla.
Nonetheless, the point means that Sunderland only require a solitary point from their next game against Athletic Bilbao, in November to ensure their quarter-final spot.