A thrilling game for the neutral saw Sunderland on the receiving end of a Burnley comeback at the Stadium of Light.
A two goal lead for the Lads at half-time was surrendered in the second half as a quality Clarets side, led by Vincent Kompany, inflicted some heavy damage with four goals.
Two changes to the side saw Tony Mowbray hand starts to Amad and Trai Hume. Patrick Roberts, who picked up a knock in training, and Aji Alese, who is out for the next 3-4 weeks with a knee injury, made way.
Both sides started the game with tentative jabs as the Lads threatened to throw numbers forward whilst the Clarets showed threat on the counter attack. But it was Amad who threw a big hit on 16 minutes.
Alex Pritchard’s weaving run opened up the space for Jack Clarke on the left. The winger took Burnley defenders out of play picking out the Manchester United loanee with acres of space in the box. The 20-year-old did the rest by wrong footing Arijanet Muric with a rolled finish into the bottom right corner.
The Clarets 12 unbeaten run was under serious threat five minutes later when the Lads doubled their lead. Once again, numbers in attack pinned Burnley back as Elliot Embleton floated a cross into the box. A high defender header was then knocked down to Dan Neil who slammed the ball on the half volley past Muric to send the Stadium of Light into delight.
After the restart was delayed for a few minutes due to a disruption in the north stand, the Lads continued to manfully stand up to threat of Kompany’s side.
A neat exchange between Vitinho and Anass Zaroury freed up the Brazilian on the edge of the box but he slammed his effort high over the bar. Sunderland completed an unscathed first half in fine style but were quickly pegged back shortly after the interval.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis climbed highest from a corner ball to the back post and his header back across goal found Nathan Tella in the six yard box who was on hand to nod the ball past Anthony Patterson.
Sunderland rallied back into the game. A repeat scenario of the first goal failed to deliver the same result as Clarke picked out Amad in the box on the counter attack but sliced his shot wide before Embleton’s firm shot was clutched by the hands of Muric.
Despite the home side’s efforts, the pressure told when Burnley levelled the game just after the hour mark. Substitute Manuel Benson curling cross from the right evaded everyone in the box and snuck in at the far post.
The Clarets turnaround was completed 20 minutes from time when Zaroury latched onto a loose ball on the right, darted to the edge of the box and fired his bending effort into the far corner.
The Clarets rubbed salt into the Sunderland wounds when Benson intercepted the ball high up on the opposition half. He teed up Josh Brownhill who slammed the ball past Patterson to rubber stamp the result.
Goals: Amad 16’, Neil 20’, Tella 51’, Benson 60’, Zaroury 69’ Brownhill 87’
Sunderland XI: Patterson; Hume, O’Nien, Batth, Cirkin; Evans (Michut 74’), Neil; Pritchard (Bennette 65’) Embleton (Ba 74’), Clarke; Amad
Subs: Bass, Wright, Dajaku, Matete
Burnley XI: Muric; Roberts, Harwood-Bellis (McNally 88’), Taylor, Vitinho; Brownhill, Cullen; Zaroury (Bastien 83’), Tella (Rodriguez 73’), Gudmunnsson (Cork 73’); Barnes (Benson 45’)
Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Dervisoglu