Middlesbrough 1-1 Sunderland: Substitute Rusyn spares Black Cats’ blushes in Tees-Wear Derby

The Tees-Wear Derby made its grand return on Sunday as Middlesbrough welcomed rivals Sunderland to the Riverside Stadium for a huge Championship clash. Michael Carrick’s hosts were dismantled by Premier League Chelsea in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal tie against the West London side, while the Black Cats eased past Stoke City with a 3-1 win, easing some pressure on boss Michael Beale.

MID: Glover; Ayling, Fry, van den Berg, Engel; Hackney, Barlaser; Forss, Howson, Azaz; Greenwood

SUN: Patterson; Hjelde, Ballard, O’Nien, Hume; Neil; Ba, Ekwah, Bellingham, Clarke; Burstow

The Tees-Wear Derby almost got off to the perfect start for a Sunderland side on the front foot early on, but Pierre Ekwah’s ambitious free-kick flew just over the bar; albeit with Boro goalkeeper Tom Glover slightly panicked by the effort.

At the other end, Sam Greenwood was played through on goal by Hayden Hackney, only for Trai Hume to get back and make the block to prevent the Boro striker from opening the scoring. Greenwood was then involved in the home side’s next chance, as the forward saw his shot saved by Anthony Patterson, with the ball then falling to Finn Azaz who fired just over the bar.

Trai Hume was the next to test Tom Glover in the Middlesbrough goal, as his shot from just outside the box saw the goalkeeper make a comfortable save to keep the scoreline level. 

Lukas Engel then latched onto a great cross at the other end for the home side, but his strike from just outside the box whistled just over the bar.

Abdoullah Ba somehow didn’t give Sunderland the lead with just ten minutes to go until the end of the first 45, as he fired his close range effort straight into the side netting; albeit under pressure from Tom Glover. Ba then somehow wasted another huge opportunity to put the Black Cats in front, as his tap-in from Jack Clarke’s pullback was cleared at the very last moment by Lukas Engel. 

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Luke Ayling had two excellent chances to put Michael Carrick’s hosts into the lead at the start of the second half, but both his efforts swirled just past the far post.

Eventually, Sunderland were going to pay for their missed opportunities in the first half, and that’s exactly what Michael Beale’s side did as the clock ticked into the 62nd minute. A brilliantly worked free kick from Middlesbrough made its way to Marcus Forss, who took a touch and fired the ball home past a diving Anthony Patterson to give the hosts the lead they deserved. 

Sam Greenwood could have doubled Middlesbrough’s advantage just minutes later, only for Sam Greenwood to somehow send his shot well wide at the far post. 

With just over five minutes to go, Sunderland found an unlikely equaliser. The Black Cats advanced forward through Jack Clarke, who made a blistering run which ended with the winger pulling the ball back for substitute Nazariy Rusyn. The striker then took a touch on the edge of the box and arrowed the ball past a helpless Tom Glover.

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Both sides return to league action this Saturday. Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough host Bristol City at the Riverside, while Sunderland welcome Ian Foster’s Plymouth Argyle to the Stadium of Light – both kick off at 3pm.