Vergini stars as Sunderland beat Udinese to finish with win

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SUNDERLAND ended their pre-season programme with a victory after two goals in as many minutes proved sufficient to get the better of Udinese.

The Black Cats went ahead early in the second half at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park ground when Santiago Vergini converted Jordi Gomez’s corner.

Seconds later, Vergini won a penalty – converted by Connor Wickham – to secure the 2-0 victory against the Serie A outfit, in Sunderland’s final friendly before next Saturday’s opening day trip to West Brom.

New signings Vergini and Jack Rodwell were both included in the starting line-up, to make their second friendly outings in the space of 48 hours.

Wickham lined up on the left flank and Charis Mavrias on the right, as Gus Poyet stuck with a 4-1-4-1 formation.

Mavrias produced Sunderland’s first effort on goal in the third minute when he collected Vergini’s lifted ball over the top and hit a half-volley across goal from the right-hand side of the area which drifted over the bar.

Luis Fruto Muriel then let fly at the other end with a powerful, dipping right-footed shot from 25 yards which was straight at Costel Pantilimon.

Defender Igor Bubnjic produced a decent angled left-footed shot from 20 yards in the 19th minute which just cleared the crossbar.

Loureiro Allan let fly with another effort from distance in the 37th minute when he hit a right-footed shot from 30 yards which Pantilimon was forced to tip over the bar.

Sunderland made a change five minutes before the break when Patrick van Aanholt was taken off as a precaution after receiving treatment, with youngster Tom Robson taking his place.

Moments later, Wes Brown had a fortunate escape after an awful square pass just inside the Sunderland half was pounced upon by Muriel.

The Udinese man drove towards the edge of the area and hit a right-footed shot which Pantilimon palmed behind.

HALF-TIME Sunderland 0 Udinese 0

Wickham went close in the 51st minute when he struck a powerful right-footed free-kick from 25 yards to the left of goal which Udinese keeper Zeljko Brkic did well to keep out at his near post.

Sunderland did break the deadlock five minutes later when Jordi Gomez’s corner from the right was cushioned home by Vergini from six yards out.

Moments later, Vergini won a spot-kick when he was clearly brought down by Bubnjic as he tried to get in behind the Udinese defence.

Wickham took responsibility and smashed the ball down the middle, with Brkic diving fruitlessly to his right.

Half-time substitute Liam Agnew went close in the 70th minute when he pounced onto Jozy Altidore’s dinked through-ball, but saw his attempted chip blocked by Brkic.

Vito Mannone produced a smart save in the 77th minute when he tipped Fernandes Bruno’s near-post shot behind.

Muriel should have done better with four minutes to go after getting in behind John O’Shea, but sent his shot wide of the far post from eight yards out.

FULL-TIME Sunderland 2 Udinese 0

SUNDERLAND: Pantilimon (Mannone 46), Vergini (Roberge 61), O’Shea, Brown, van Aanholt (T Robson 40), Cattermole (Bridcutt 85), Rodwell (Agnew 46), Gomez (N’Diaye 71), Wickham (Altidore 61), Mavrias (Watmore 75), Fletcher (Graham 71).

UDINESE: Brkic, Danilo, Allan, Badu (Bruno 74), Bubnjic (Belmonte 74), Guilherme (Dos Santos 74), Muriel, Widmer, Gabriel Silva, Heurtaux, Thereau (Lopez 69). Subs not used: Scuffet, Zapata, Jankto, Zielinski, Meret. Booked: Gabriel Silva (74)