Sunderland are gearing up for the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Portsmouth as they head to Fratton Park with a one-goal advantage.
Jack Ross’ side secured a precious 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, with Chris Maguire coming off the bench to settle the match.
The Black Cats needed to see out the game with ten men after defender Alim Ozturk was sent off for a challenge on Pompey’s Gareth Evans with his side having just taken the lead.
Sunderland were furious with the decision that meant Ozturk would miss the second leg down south, but Ross’ side have now been handed a boost with the news that the decision has been overturned.
The club had made an appeal to the FA over the dismissal, and the claim of wrongful dismissal was upheld by an Independent Regulatory Commission.
Sunderland revealed the news via their Twitter channel on Thursday afternoon:
???? Alim Ozturk will be available for selection when Jack Ross’ side take on @officialpompey on Thursday following a successful appeal.
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) May 13, 2019
Having rarely featured over the course of the season, Ozturk has broken into Ross’ side in recent weeks. He played every minute of Sunderland’s last five matches of the regular season, despite making just five league appearances since August before this.
This news comes as a boost to Ross’ side, and you would have to say it is ultimately the right decision.
It did not look like a red card offence when Ozturk brought down Evans, so justice has been done with his appeal.
Sunderland fans will just be thankful that it didn’t lead to their side conceding in the closing stages on Saturday’s encounter.