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Sunderland v RCD Mallorca - Pre-Season Friendly

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Two Up, Two Down: Vamos, Hemir! Sunderland held to gritty draw by Real Mallorca

Sunderland drew with the La Liga outfit in their penultimate pre-season friendly on Saturday. What were the positives and negatives to take from the game?

Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images,

Andrew Smithson says...

Plenty of fight shown!

I didn’t mind that little melee after the red card tackle on Luke O’Nien.

I know supporters aren’t supposed to encourage that type of thing, but I loved how the players piled in to back each other up and look after their mates.

Pre-season games can sometimes be a bit flat, but we looked up for it and had no issues getting stuck in. We seem to be ready for the real stuff to start, and wanting to fight for one another will help to take us forward when it does ‘kick off’.

Thinking inside the box

Another positive involving O’Nien, who took several goal kicks and rolled them straight to Anthony Patterson.

It seems like nothing, but such a simple move left the Mallorca players unsure as to whose responsibility it was or whether to close down or not, thus allowing him to take a few touches so that he could get into position and ping it into Hemir.

It gives us another option and could catch teams cold, and it also suggests the staff are putting lots of thought into how they can make small gains here and there.

Hopefully it’ll add up to something big!

We deserved more

I came away from the match feeling pretty positive, and having got a decent draw against top flight opposition, I don’t want to be too critical.

Rather than a concern, one of my ‘downs’ is just a bit of a shame more than anything else, because that second half through ball from Patrick Roberts was top class, and I’m gutted it didn’t lead to a goal!

Happy days…for now!

Like I say, I don’t want to be too harsh given the circumstances and performance so I’m struggling here.

It’s bit of a worry to let another lead slip at home but it’s hard to judge whether that’ll continue against Championship opposition.

Off the pitch, I was very disappointed to find that the PA system has still not been sorted, but in truth, I can’t say I was surprised.

I think I’m just happy to have been back at the Stadium of Light after a couple of months, and perhaps my mood will change when there are points on the line...

Sunderland v RCD Mallorca - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images,

Dan Harrison says…

Good movement from Hemir

A game against a much higher standard of opposition demonstrated Hemir’s goalscoring prowess and of being able to be in the right place at the right time.

Most importantly, his work off the ball shouldn’t go unnoticed, and his tenacity in holding off defenders and his work rate at making offensive runs behind the Mallorca back line were superb.

A lot to be excited about.

Bellingham stands out

Jobe Bellingham slotted in as the most advanced midfielder in the three deployed by Tony Mowbray and he didn’t look out of place at all.

He supported Hemir well and offered great outlet passes whenever he had multiple touches on the ball.

A knock for Cirkin

Dennis Cirkin was rushed back to play and despite his composed performance for seventy minutes, he was ultimately replaced due to injury.

This is a concern with the first game in a week and our starting left back lacking match fitness.

Chance creation

As the game developed, our creative threat faded.

Some of this will be down to intensity and partly due to the magnitude of substitutions made by Mowbray in the second half. However, our attacking threat looked much more composed during the first half of the game.


Malc Dugdale says...

Hemir strikes again

The big number nine scored again and looks as handy at home as he seemed during the US tour.

He had a very good game and we were noticeably less effective after he went off, although Chris Rigg, Isaac Lihadji and Jewison Bennette all had good moments too.

Hemir is already so invested that he’s both forcing repeated fouls from opponents, while steaming in to help sort out a melee is an indication that he’s already getting embedded into our team.

Ekwah owns the midfield

The presence, skill and vision of Pierre Ekwah was fantastic in the first half.

The ball seemed glued to him and he demonstrated that he sees patterns of play and options others don’t even spot. While the whole team was less convincing in the second half, he still did well and his abilities are plain to see.

I can’t see anyone getting his shirt off him much this season, unless he gets an injury.

A soft goal conceded

I’m not sure if the actions of the Mallorca attacker may have drawn a foul in the Championship, but it was disappointing to let a goal in as we did early in the second half and it seemed to bring the visitors into it.

Maybe our defender, possibly Luke O’Nien, was less robust than he should’ve been, but I thought the referee would blow up.

We didn’t lose, however, and the opponents were of a better class this time so a draw is no shame.

Friendly filth

It was fair to see the Mallorca player sent off for a very late and very unnecessary hack at O’Nien in the last ten minutes.

Pre-season friendlies shouldn’t be played in such spirit, and while the team’s reaction was nice to see, lads can have legs broken and ligaments damaged from stupid acts like that, and I hope the player apologises.

There’s no need for it in a league or cup game, never mind a friendly in late July. ‎

Sunderland v RCD Mallorca - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images,

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