Report: Dijon FCO 2-3 Sunderland

Dijon FCO 2-3 Sunderland 

Sunderland continued their pre-season tour of France with a 3-2 win against Dijon FCO on Wednesday evening. 

Joel Asoro enjoyed a night to remember against the Ligue 1 side, opening the scoring after just 12 minutes with a fine solo finish, but there was much more to come from the youngster who impressed throughout. 

The Black Cats continued to impress throughout the opening 45 minutes with Fabio Borini and Jack Rodwell both volleying wide, but they were pegged back in the second period as Dylan Bahamboula levelled with 53 minutes on the clock. 

However, Sunderland responded emphatically and Asoro was once again at the source, skipping down the wing before slotting a ball into the path of Wahbi Khazri who buried the opportunity. 

A standing ovation followed for the youngster as he was replaced on 63 minutes, but the drama was far from over as Jeremie Bela levelled before Fabio Borini’s late penalty ensured Sunderland’s 100% pre-season record continued.   

David Moyes named a strong starting XI at the Stade Camile-Fournier with Younes Kaboul, Lamine Kone, Jack Rodwell and Patrick van Aanholt lining up at the back.

Jan Kirchhoff also featured for the first time this season alongside Lee Cattermole and Jeremain Lens, with Borini and Khazri flanking an attack led by 17-year-old Asoro. 

And the youngster made an immediate impression.

Jordan Loties was caught out by the striker’s persistent play and he was powerless as Asoro nipped in and slotted the ball into the net via the far post.

With 19 minutes played Sunderland almost grabbed their second as Borini volleyed wide following a sweeping move, but the Italian’s effort was in vain with an offside flag raised. 

A brief lull followed as both sides engaged in a battle for possession but the Black Cats remained the better side and were happy to bide their time.

Their patience almost paid off with 35 minutes on the clock as Kirchhoff battled for possession and attempted to slide a ball into the path of Asoro, but the striker was thwarted by the last man as Dijon continued to struggle with the youngster’s searing pace. 

The final chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Rodwell who volleyed narrowly wide, with Kone inches away from connecting with Khazri’s corner seconds before the midfielder fired at goal. 

Sunderland emerged unchanged for the second period but impressively they displayed similar levels of energy and intensity as they did in the first half. However, with 51 minutes played they were almost caught off guard as Jeremie Bela strolled towards goal and was afforded too much time and space, but the Dijon man failed to capatalise and pulled his effort wide of the target. 

Two minutes later, Dylan Bahamboula showed his team-mate how it’s done.

The towering striker showed great feet to seize upon a loose ball before rifling a show into the corner, with Pickford unable to keep out the powerful effort despite getting a hand to it. 

A response followed from the Black Cats and Asoro once again took centre stage, picking up possession on the right before driving forward and slotting the ball into the path of Khazri who buried the ball past Baptiste. 

Unfortunately, Dijon had a hero of their own and with 69 minutes played Bahamboula added an assist to his earlier strike, picking out Bela who finds the corner to make it 2-2.

The drama, however, was far from over and within seven minutes Sunderland led for a third time; Duncan Watmore taking up the mantle after replacing Asoro and winning a penalty after his cross struck a hand.

Borini stepped up - advantage Sunderland. 

The Italian almost grabbed a spectacular second moments later, but after tantalisingly flicking the ball into the air and volleying at goal, his effort rippled the roof of the net.   

But his intervention from the spot was enough to secure a fourth successive pre-season win against an impressive Dijon side. 

Sunderland: Pickford, Rodwell (Jones, 63), Kone, Kaboul, van Aanholt (T Robson, 52), Cattermole (E Robson, 72), Kirchhoff, Lens, Khazri (N'Zogbia, 80), Borini, Asoro (Watmore, 63). 

Subs not used: Mannone, Stryjek, J Robson, Gooch, Greenwood, Honeyman.

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