Premier League - Alcaraz salvages Wigan point
Eurosport - Sat, 11 Sep 16:59:00 2010
A scrappy first half was notable more for the number of fouls committed by each side rather than the quality of their football.
Lee Cattermole received two yellow cards for his efforts and the Sunderland captain has now been sent off twice in the three matches that he has featured in this season.
Wigan, with the advantage of the extra man, dominated possession, but failed to create any clear-cut chances in the first half, the best of them being a shot on the turn from Hugo Rodallega which flew wide of the right hand post.
Steve Bruce, whose side had looked dangerous on the counter in the first half, brought on the new £13million signing Gyan for the second half, and it was the Ghanaian who broke the deadlock.
Jordan Henderson lost his marker on the right hand side of midfield and curled a delightful cross into Gyan's path, and his left-foot volley flew into the back of the net.
Just as it was looking likely that Sunderland would be able to hold on for all three points, they conceded after the previously excellent Simon Mignolet could not react quickly enough to keep out Alcaraz's header.
In a physical first half, Wigan led the way, with nine fouls to Sunderland's eight, however, it was Cattermole who went in the book twice, first for clattering into Mohammed Diame, and secondly for bringing down Rodallega when the Wigan forward was cutting into the box following a swift counter attack.
Cattermole may well feel the first caution was harsh, as Diame ran across him, but he can have no complaints about the second. The Sunderland captain has been a liability this season, and will surely have to curb his tendencies to dive in at every opportunity.
After being reduced to 10 men Sunderland looked to play on the counter and fashioned more dangerous opportunities than Wigan, who could not break down the massed ranks of red and white shirts and - when they did - found Mignolet in excellent form.
Steve Bruce's decision to send on Gyan was a brave one, and it did not look to be working out as Sunderland's midfield was overrun from the start of the second half.
However, it paid off brilliantly when the World Cup star got on the end of Henderson's brilliant cross and gave the Black Cats an unlikely lead.
It was Di Santo who nearly made the biggest impact, floating a cross into the box for Mauro Boselli but the Argentina international somehow managed to miss the target from three yards in one of the worst misses of the season.
Sunderland looked to be hanging on for an unlikely three points when - with three minutes to go - Rodallega's free-kick into the box was punched clear by Mignolet, only to fall as far as Tom Cleverley.
The on loan midfielder's volley looked to be flying wide of the goal, but Wigan captain Alcaraz stooped to get his head to the ball and direct it goalwards: Mignolet got both hands to the ball but could only direct it into the corner of the net.Jamie Nazareth / Eurosport