By Mike Collett
Jan 18 (Reuters) - Relegation-threatened Sunderland salvaged a point from a 2-2 draw with Southampton after trailing 2-0 in the first half at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
The home side, who stay in the English Premier League drop zone, also had a goal chalked off after a narrow offside call in the second half of the lunchtime kickoff as they inflicted more pain on the visitors who have suffered a tough week.
Southampton, hit by the midweek resignation of chairman Nicola Cortese and doubts over the future of coach Mauricio Pochettino, were also rocked on it with Gaston Ramirez and Dejan Lovren carried off on stretchers after being hurt late on.
"The ugliest side of the game was the injuries," Pochettino told the BBC. "We hope they are okay, both are heading to hospital.
"In this game nothing is over until it is over. We were unlucky. In the first half we played fantastically well and deserved a third or a fourth. With the second half and the support of their fans they pushed ahead and got the equaliser - I think we deserved to win the game.
"The players have had a really difficult week, I want to congratulate them in light of what has happened. They put in an amazing effort.
"In football there are no guarantees, you depend on the results (and) it will be a decision from the people above to decide whether I should be here.
"It is not me who decides when we meet, it should be the chairwoman who decides," added Pochettino, referring to club owner Katharina Liebherr who has taken on the role of non-executive chairman following Cortese's departure.
"We have not had a chance to speak about next season so I don't know yet."
The Saints dominated the first half-an-hour and deservedly led with goals from Jay Rodriguez, who scored with a shot from just outside the penalty area after four minutes, and Lovren who made it 2-0 with a right-foot shot after 31.
Sunderland immediately halved the deficit when Fabio Borini netted with a low angled shot a minute later and they pulled level when the in-form Adam Johnson hammered home after 71.
In between those two strikes Borini also had a goal disallowed when he was ruled narrowly offside after planting home a well-taken strike after 64 minutes.
"We need to be realistic, this is a point gained because we were far from being good enough in the first half," Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said.
"It is incredible how much we changed in the second half."
The result meant Southampton stayed ninth before the rest of the afternoon's league programme. (Reporting by Mike Collett; editing by Josh Reich)
- Sports & Recreation
- Mauricio Pochettino
- Nicola Cortese
- Dejan Lovren