Sunderland scored early and late to grab a share of the points with a 2-2 draw in its Barclays Premier League opener at West Bromwich.
It took less than five minutes for Lee Cattermole, the Black Cats’ longest-serving player, to deliver a magnificent opening strike from 25 yards out. After surrendering the lead, Sebastian Larsson ensured Sunderland wouldn’t go home empty handed with a subtle finish of Patrick van Aanholt’s pass from the end line in the 85th minute. Jozy Altidore came off the bench for the final portion of the match, entering in the 81st minute.
“In the early part of last season, we wouldn’t have come back from that,” Larsson told the Sunderland Echo. “To get something was OK, but not more than OK. I think the main thing is there’s things to build on, particularly in the second half. But the big difference from last year is that we could have lost that game three or 4-1. We came back, got a point and can move on to next week. Away games in the Premier League are never easy.”
Saido Berahino scored twice for the Baggies, first on 42nd-minute penalty kick after Victor Anichebe went down in the box courtesy of a touch foul by Valentin Roberge. Berahino tapped in Craig Gardner’s cross in the 74th minute to put the home side ahead.
But the Black Cats responded and now look toward a Sunday afternoon home opener at the Stadium of Light against Manchester United, who suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Swansea City.