Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Tuesday July 27 2010
Sunderland lined up with a mixture of youth and some experience in the starting eleven this evening.
Mignolet continued in goal to convince Bruce that the two he conceded against Hull were a one off, but let him down with another two goals going past him rather too easily.
Sunderland looked lively in patches with some good movement but very little threat up front. Kenwyne Jones started up front this evening but Steve Bruce may be left thinking he should have left him in defence.
Jones had the best chance of the evening in the 23rd minute when Steed Malbranque whipped in a lovely cross only for the Trinidad and Tobago forward to miss the header completely. 79% of Vital Sunderland members voted on him being better up front but they maybe changing their votes after that sitter!
Granted, Benfica are a different class to Sunderland who should be proud with four academy players finishing the game with Waghorn, Liddle, Colback and Henderson all having minutes under their belts. Whilst they bring on Aimar and Saviola at half time!
Waghorn replaced Jones in the 30th minute after going down awkwardly and holding his knee. The young striker did himself no harm on his lonesome ahead of the midfield and shows he can be use to SAFC this season.
Colback started very poorly with possession always being given away and silly mistakes to opposition but he improved as the game went on. He drifted to the left wing in the later stages and produced some nice crosses only for their strong defence to see out any danger.
The most impressive player for Sunderland was Muhammadi Al-Muhammadi on the right wing in the first half and then an accomplished performance as right back in the second half. He will be a useful player for Sunderland with his intelligent vision, pace and flexibility between positions on the right hand side.
Sunderland will have came away from this tour happy with the three games and what they have done for fitness and game plans. However, Sunderland fans can all see that this team is sorely missing a steady goalkeeper, creative midfielders and a left back that can defend.
Plenty of time left for Bruce to get the players he is chasing and also plenty of time to gel the team together for another long season in the Premiership.
Date:Tuesday July 27 2010
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