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Report: Montpellier HSC 1-1 Sunderland

Montpellier HSC 1-1 Sunderland 

Sunderland completed their pre-season tour of France with a 1-1 draw against Ligue 1 side Montpellier HSC in Aix-les-Bains. 

Fabio Borini scored the opening goal of the game moments before the break, racing onto a sumptuous through ball forward from Lee Cattermole before steadying himself and dispatching a confident finish past David Congre. 

As the clock ticked on the Italian's first-half strike looked like ensuring the Black Cats' 100% pre-season record, but a moment of magic from Souleymane Camara with 68 minutes played levelled the encounter and proved decisive. 

Overall it was a positive performance from David Moyes' side with more minutes in the tank ahead of next weekend's final pre-season friendly against Borussia Dortmund, but the Lads face a wait as first-half injuries saw Jan Kirchhoff and Billy Jones join Jermain Defoe in the treatment room.

A return to Wearside now beckons with 90 minutes separating Sunderland from the Premier League season. 

Sunderland generated the first scoring opportunity within a minute as Wahbi Khazri seized on a half-clearance to fire over the bar. 

The Black Cats started with plenty of energy in the baking heat and Jeremain Lens almost gave the visitors the lead when he blasted off-target at the back post following a deep cross. 

And Borini got an excellent sight of goal 11 minutes in, turning away from tight-marking defenders to get a shot away which Montpellier keeper Congre did brilliantly to tip around the post. 

Sunderland were forced into making a change on 25 minutes as Kirchhoff limped off to be replaced by Charles N'Zogbia having pulled up in the middle of the field. 

And Montpellier almost opened the scoring just seconds later, as a corner was met by the head of Steve Mounie, whose header from six yards flashed just past the post. 

Jones soon joined Kirchhoff back in the dressing room, going down injured to be replaced by Seb Larsson who made his first appearance of the pre-season following his time at Euro 2016 with Sweden. 

Duncan Watmore rattled the crossbar with a deft lob 10 minutes before the break after outpacing the Montpellier defence, but the referee had already blown for a push in the build-up and the chance was gone. 

Montpellier's Ryad Boudebouz had the hosts' best chance of the first half, turning smartly to test Mannone with a powerful drive which the keeper tipped wide. 

And Borini fired off-target just before the break having got away from his marker on the right-hand edge of the box. 

But the Italian went one better two minutes before half-time to give Sunderland the lead. 

Tommy Robson won possession well in midfield and found Cattermole, whose incisive pass picked out Borini to slot beyond Congre. 

Both sides struggled to find their rhythm during the second period but it was Montpellier who crafted the first chance of the half, with a tame header giving Mannone a split-second of concern before sailing wide. 

Borini and Watmore were often isolated during the early stages of the half as the Black Cats remained under the cosh, but the duo fought hard and battled well making the best of numerous balls forward. 

However, both they and their team-mates were powerless to prevent Montpellier's equaliser as Camara's picture-perfect finish levelled the affair. 

Boudebouz fashioned the opportunity, towering above his man to guide the ball into Camara's path, and the striker gobbled up the chance rifling a half-volley past Mannone and into the corner. 

Sunderland responded well with the arrivals of Lynden Gooch and Joel Asoro injecting fresh energy into their play, but it was Borini who went closest to finding a winner as his poked effort was turned away by David. 

The Black Cats will return to Wearside before heading back overseas to take on Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening.

Sunderland: Mannone, Jones (Larsson), T Robson, Kaboul (O'Shea), Kone, Cattermole (c) (E Robson), Kirchhoff (N'Zogbia), Lens (Asoro), Khazri (J Robson), Watmore (Gooch),  Borini. 

Subs: Pickford, Honeyman, Gooch, Stryjek, Ledger, Greenwood. 

Montpellier: Congre, Vitorino Da Silva, Sanson, Boudebouz, Skhiri, Mounie, Jourdren, Camara (Marveaux), Vanden Borre, Roussillon (Remy, (Fito)), Ninga. 

Subs: Pionnier, N'Diaye, Lasne, Berigaud, Saint, Saihi, Deplagne.

 
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