Sunderland planning to appeal against Ozturk dismissal
Sunderland will appeal against Alim Ozturk’s red card in the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final against Portsmouth.
Chris Maguire’s 62nd-minute winner means Sunderland will take a 1-0 lead to Fratton Park on Thursday night, and Jack Ross is hoping he will be able to select Ozturk in his starting line-up despite the Turkish centre-back being dismissed in the first leg.
Ozturk received a straight red card when he brought down Gareth Evans midway through the second half but with the Portsmouth midfielder seemingly heading away from goal when his momentum was halted, Ross is hopeful referee Andy Woolmer’s decision will be overturned.
The Sunderland boss said: ‘My reaction at the time was that it was impossible to tell at first if it was a foul, but my only criticism was if it was a goalscoring opportunity.
‘I think (Evans’) touch has taken him the wrong side of the box.
Having watched it again, I am still of that opinion.
‘We will appeal on that basis – I don’t think it was clear and obvious.
I may always say that, but I take a balanced view on it.
‘ Ross’ side closed out the game successfully after Ozturk’s dismissal, with Evans’ strike against the crossbar the closest Portsmouth came to claiming an equaliser.
As a result, it is advantage Sunderland ahead of the second leg.
Ross said: ‘You can’t do anything about it once it’s happened, then it’s about finding a way to try and win the game.
‘I think we knew coming into two-legged ties that the first leg tends to be a little bit tense.
The first half of the game was that, but the second was better.
‘You would take any sort of advantage before the game going into the second leg, and particularly with how the game panned out, we are pleased.
‘ Portsmouth have a good record against Sunderland this season, having beaten the Black Cats in the league game at Fratton Park and in the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley, albeit via a penalty shoot-out.
As a result, Pompey boss Kenny Jackett remains confident his side will overturn their first-leg deficit on Thursday night.
Jackett said: ‘We’ll look forward to Thursday.
It’s evenly poised.
Obviously they’ve just got their noses in front, but we’re capable of coming back.
‘It’ll be a passionate atmosphere at Fratton Park, and one we’re looking forward to.
It’s a good opportunity for us.
‘I thought we were the stronger side in the first half, but couldn’t get the strikes away.
Fair play to Sunderland, they defended well in the wide areas and our delivery into the box wasn’t necessarily there.
‘We maybe didn’t have the explosiveness we usually have.
It was difficult for us going forward, but we competed and battled well.
‘It was a good quality strike from Maguire that’s got their noses in front, but it’s evenly balanced for Thursday night.’