Sunderland 0-1 Belenenses
Sunderland’s pre-season tour of Portugal, sponsored by UK Asbestos Specialists Limited, continued with a narrow defeat against Belenenses on Saturday evening.
The Lads created plenty of chances in an open first half, while the Portuguese outfit struck the crossbar.
Calila scored the only goal of the contest with 57 minutes on the clock, and plenty of changes followed the hour mark, including the timely return of Max Power.
Next stop, the Stadium of Light for a showdown with Dutch side Heerenveen next Saturday (KO 7.30pm).
Sunderland once again lined up in a 3-4-3 formation, with Jon McLaughlin shielded by a back three of Jordan Willis, Tom Flanagan and Conor McLaughlin.
Denver Hume and Luke O’Nien featured at wing back, while Dylan McGeouch and Grant Leadbitter were tasked with pulling the strings, as Duncan Watmore and Elliot Embleton backed up Will Grigg.
The first opening of the game arrived quickly, as Embleton fed Watmore and forward flashed an effort wide after being closed down by one-time Black Cat Mika.
Grigg saw an effort squirm across goal and to safety shortly after, as Watmore continued to menace and give his full-back a torrid time.
Belenenses responded through Matija, who sent a 25-yard free-kick crashing against the crossbar, but the Lads volleyed back instantly, with Hume’s low drive forcing a save before Flanagan’s header was well-held.
It remained goalless at the break, but the Portuguese outfit were forced to defend once again after the restart.
Great play from Watmore, who was a standout performer throughout his appearance, was followed by a quality final ball, but a flying save denied Embleton.
However, after a sustained spell of pressure, the Black Cats were caught out, as Calila broke the offside trap and finished well for the opener.
Seven changes arrived in the stages that followed, with the most notable seeing Power, who limped off in the Play-Off Final, return to action ahead of schedule.
It remained 1-0 to the Portuguese side, but the travelling red and white army didn’t seem to mind too much, as the Lads continued to build ahead of the new campaign.
Sunderland: J McLaughlin, Willis (Ozturk 65), Flanagan, C McLaughlin (Baldwin 84), O’Nien (Diamond 84), Hume (Gooch 72), Leadbitter (Power 72), McGeouch (Sammut 72), Embleton (Maguire 72), Watmore (Kimpioka 65), Grigg (Wyke 65).
Subs not used: Loovens, Burge, Robson, Patterson.