Mitrovic rescues a point in the derby
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I've been Ryan Caffrey, I hope you've enjoyed keeping up with this Tyne-wear derby.

Mitrovic can be very proud of his performance today. Although he never really showed his talent, he scored the goal that saved a point for his side. Not only that, but his passion was key. From celebrating with a fan on the pitch to arguing with the physio's about his substitution, Mitrovic's desire was second to none tonight.

I'm sure some Geordies will be saying "At least it wasn't a loss." And some will be saying "We should have won that." Both would be very valid points.

90+6' FULL TIME.

90+3' It's unfortunate but Mitrovic is being taken off with injury. He wants to stay on by the looks of him but his advice is that he must come off. Real passion from the Serb.

90' Last minutes here Newcastle really chasing the game, they look the only side who can win it.

It's Mitrovic! The Serbian striker has struggled so far this game but he really powered his header down from a Wijnaldum cross. The striker will take the yellow card for taking off his shirt but Newcastle now have their tails up.


82' Newcastle have had a lot of the ball in dangerous positions but have failed with their final ball. The fans are gettinf restless.

77' Cisse nearly scores immdiately! The Senegal internation was just under a cross from Perez. 

75' SUB. Cisse comes on to applause, Townsend subbed off.

74' SUB. Khazri comes off for N'Doye.

73' SUB. Kaboul comes off with an injury for O'Shea. Looks to be simply precaution.

72' SUB. Janmaat is off for Anita.

71' Townsend has tried a number of crosses into the box but no Newcastle player is making a run at goal. Benitez is really lacking a potent goal scorer.

62' SUB. De Jong comes on for Colback.

58' What a save from Elliot! Van Aanholt twisted and turned his way into the box and smashed a shot that looked destined for the far corner but the keeper rose to tip it away.

53' Great chance for Mitrovic! A cross is swung in from Sissoko and the Serbian striker ran on to meet it, his flicked curling header was gathered by Mannone.

48' Off the line! Perez flicked the ball towards goal from a corner but Sunderland scrambled to get it clear.

45' The home side kick off the second half 1-0 down.

Well it's far to say that both manager's talks have been changed right before kick off. Neither side have really been dominant in this game, but Defoe proved to be the difference in the first half, Newcastle just don't have a reliable goal scorer like Defoe.


44' It's Defoe! The main man for Sunderland volleyed home a ball that was falling from the sky after Newcastle failed to deal with a corner. It's really bad set piece defending from the home side.


36' BOOKED. Janmaat receives a yellow for trying to take town Kirchhoff.

29' After a fast paced opening 20 minutes, the game has slowed down. This will suit the away side, take the noise out of this partizan home crowd.

20' Townsend is looking very sharp. Perhaps looking at that England squad, the winger just drove at the Sunderland defence and fired a shot that needed saving.

19' Sunderland fans thought he'd scored, and maybe he should have! Defoe is found six yards away from goal with a cross but he fires just wide, clipped the netting as it rolls by.

17' BOOKED. Colback is the first name the referee takes as he hacks down Borini. Was a tad theatrical from the Italian.

13' What did he try to do?! Townsend again put in a great cross and the ball floated away from Mitrovic and found Sissoko at the back post. The Frenchman didn't seem to know whether to shoot or cross the ball back in and his end result was a mix between to two. He really should have just tried to trouble Mannone.

9' Sunderland have had a number of free headers from set pieces already in this match. Something for the new manager to look at.

7' First chance for the home side, Townsend raced down the right hand side and put in a cross for Mitrovic, the Serbian volleyed just over.

3' Early chance for Defoe as Borini knocks the ball down for the former England striker but he can only put his shot on the turn over the bar.

1' Sunderland get us underway.

The teams are walking out! Last chance for predictions, tweet us @VAVEL.

Kick off is just 15 mins away, Benitez has labelled every game between now and the end of the season a must win game. His counter-part Sam Allardyce was slightly calmer, suggesting that the must win games are yet to come. Yet three points for either side would be a dream in their quest for survival.

Do you think Rafa will be able to win his first derby? Or will Sunderland reign supreme again? Tweet us @VAVEL.

Sunderland Subs: Pickford, O'Shea, Jones, Cattermole, Lens, N'Doye, Toivonen.

Sunderland XI: Mannone, Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, Van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, Borini, M'Vila, Rodwell, Khazri, Defoe.

Newcastle Subs: Darlow, Taylor, Anita, Saivet, De Jong, Riviere, Cisse

Newcastle United XI: Elliot, Janmaat, Mbemba, Lascelles, Colback, Sissoko, Shelvey, Townsend, Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic.

Rafael Benitez takes charge of his first Tyne-Wear derby, his side have lost the last six derbies in a row. With both teams currently sitting in the drop zone, the threat of relegation adds another fearful stipulation to the already fierce rivalry.

Welcome to the live text commentary for the game between Newcastle United and Sunderland! Kick off is an hour away but stayed tuned for team news and pre match thoughts.

Predicted Sunderland XI (4-1-4-1): Mannone; Yedlin, O'Shea, Kone, van Aanholt; Kirchhoff; Borini, Cattermole, M'Vila, Khazri; Defoe.

Predicted Newcastle XI (4-2-3-1): Elliot; Janmaat, Taylor, Mbemba, Colback; Anita, Shelvey; Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Townsend; Mitrovic.

Newcastle, meanwhile, come into the game with a never-ending list of injury concerns. From captain Fabricio Coloccini to goalkeeper Tim Krul, key players remain absent all round for Benitez's side. However, Chancel Mbemba could be back in contention after returning to training. The defender has been sidelined since the beginning of February with an ankle problem, but he could bolster the back line by making a comeback today.

Whilst the Tynesiders could be boosted by the arrival of a new manager, the Wearsiders are today boosted by the return of Jeremain Lens. The Dutch attacker has been out injured for a while after a hernia operation, but returns in perfect time, ready for today's derby. Only Duncan Watmore and recently-signed defender Emmanuel Eboue are on the treatment table for this one then.

Newcastle, on the other hand, have lost four of their last five - the latest defeat coming at the hands of leaders Leicester City on Monday night. That was Rafa Benitez's first game in charge of the Mags though, and the loss could be excused with it coming against the Premier League pacesetters. Sunderland boast a bizarre recent record of new managers losing their first game in charge, and then winning their second fixture - which has always been a Tyne-Wear derby. Could Benitez flip the trend on its head by achieving the feat for the Toon Army?

Sunderland won the reverse of this fixture 3-0 at the Stadium of Light, albeit under controversial circumstances. (Photo: Getty)
Sunderland won the reverse of this fixture 3-0 at the Stadium of Light, albeit under controversial circumstances. (Photo: Getty)

Recent form says that it's today's visitors who are the favourites for the three points, as does the favourable head-to-head. Sunderland have only lost one of their last five games, having grabbed big points against Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Southampton, as well as a win at home to Manchester United.

Both sit in the relegation zone prior to kick-off, with Norwich City's win over West Bromwich Albion yesterday making a victory today even more important for both these sides. A win would lift the Black Cats out of the bottom three on goal difference, whereas Newcastle would leap-frog their rivals and narrow the gap from safety to one point.

It doesn't take a Sunderland super fan to know that a win for the Black Cats today would be their seventh in a row, and it could be the most important of all. In the build up to today's match, Peter Reid said that the winner, in his opinion, would stay up, whilst the loser would go down. Whether that proves to be the case, we'll have to wait and see, but it's certainly a game neither can really afford to lose.

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live coverage of today's massive Tyne-Wear derby as Newcastle United welcome Sunderland to St James' Park. Dubbed as the most significant encounter between these two local rivals perhaps ever, with Premier League survival on the line, it's sure to be an unforgettable occasion. Kick-off is scheduled for 13.30GMT, but stick with us in the build up as we preview the game and bring you the all-important team news.