If Sunderland are to make the last 16 for the first time in eight years they will need an improved performance at the home of Middlesbrough, for even though the Black Cats upped their game after the break Boro thoroughly deserved a second chance.
A feisty derby saw the visitor’s take the lead with a sublime volley from Barry Robson as Middlesbrough created chances with the host’s looking under par.
Yet Sunderland boss Martin O’ Neill was fuming when the officials disallowed a first half leveller from Craig Gardner for a non-existent offside although the player should have been penalised for a hand ball in the lead up to the ‘goal’.
Boro ended the half the stronger but were pegged back early after the restart as substitute Frasier Campbell, returning after an 18 month injury absence, coolly slotted home.
For Robson though it was of hero to zero as it was his sloppy pass which allowed Sunderland to break quickly and restore parity.
The home side took heart from the goal and pressed at the Boro defence but in truth neither side showed the quality in that final third to settle the tie.
Referee: Kevin Friend
Venue: Stadium of Light
TRIBAL ASKS: Are Middlesbrough a good bet for promotion from the Championship on this form?
Yellow cards: Hoyte (MID), Williams (MID)