Alcaraz puts late dampener on Gyan's debut party
Wigan Athletic 1 Sunderland 1: Sunderland have to settle for a point against Wigan after Ghanaian striker highlights spirited response to Cattermole's second red card of the season
This ground is to be used as a holding zone for Rangers supporters before their team's Champions League match with Manchester United on Tuesday in a bid to prevent a rerun of the violent clashes in Manchester which marred the 2008 Uefa Cup Final.
The 4,700 fans travelling in a convoy of coaches from Glasgow will hope to receive as warm a welcome from the Wigan public as the one their fellow countrymen James McCarthy got yesterday after helping to rescue his side from defeat.
Staring defeat in the face against a Sunderland side reduced to 10 men by Lee Cattermole's second red card in four Premier League games, the former Hamilton midfielder McCarthy was involved in the build-up to the 87th minute equaliser claimed by Antolin Alcaraz, the Paraguay defender's first goal for Wigan.
It cancelled out Asamoah Gyan's stunning volley, 21 minutes into his debut after a club record £13 million move from Rennes. If the quality of his finish is an example of things to come from the Ghana forward, he will be worth every penny.
Yet even Gyan's terrific effort could not hide the disappointment etched on Steve Bruce's face on his return to his former club.
"It has happened twice in a month and that is not healthy for him or the team either," said the Sunderland manager about Cattermole's fifth dismissal of his career. "He has to learn from it and we will be having a conversation with him. He is inconsolable at the moment. He knows, but it's out there where he has to learn, you can't go to ground for the challenge."
The 22-year-old's first yellow for fouling Mohamed Diamé was slightly harsh but there was no question about the second for a tackle which left Hugo Rodallega in a heap.
Yet the midfielder's sending off midway through the first half galvanised Sunderland. Wigan enjoyed long spells of possession but could find no way through a well marshalled defence in whichTitus Bramble was outstanding on his first return here since his summer move to Wearside.
Rodallega had spurned two chances when Jordan Henderson delivered a delightful cross for the substitute Gyan to steer past Ali Al Habsi.
Wigan looked lost, particularly when Mauro Boselli, their £6 million signing in the summer, missed a glorious opportunity to level with a header before Alcaraz rode to the rescue.
"We are showing signs of a team that is slowly starting to gel together," said their manager, Roberto Martinez.
Substitutes: Wigan: N'Zogbia for Stam (53); Di Santo for Thomas (54); Cleverley for Boselli (75). Sunderland: Riveros for Al-Mohammadi (33); Gyan for Welbeck (h-t); Mensah for Richardson (80).
Bookings: Wigan: Thomas, Boyce, Gohouri. Sunderland: Cattermole, Welback.
Sending-off: Sunderland: Cattermole.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the match: Bramble
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