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O'Neill turns attention to league
Published : 09 Feb 2012 07:46:52
Martin O'Neill will let the FA Cup take care of itself after seeing Sunderland book a mouth-watering double header against Arsenal.
The Black Cats face the Gunners in the Barclays Premier League at the Stadium of Light on Saturday in what will represent a dress rehearsal for their first fifth round tie in eight years seven days later.
O'Neill's men booked their place in the last 16 with a 2-1 replay victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium, but needed extra-time to seal their progress, and the Ulsterman said: "Arsenal will be pretty pleased that we have gone into extra-time. We will try to get ourselves ready for that game. The cup game will take care of itself the week after."
Sunderland had Stephane Sessegnon to thank for their victory after he spared them a nail-biting penalty shoot-out with a winner eight minutes from the end of extra-time.
Boro perhaps enjoyed the better of the first half, but found themselves trailing three minutes from the end of it when Jack Colback ran on to Fraizer Campbell's knockdown and smashed home a left foot shot off the underside of the bar.
Phil Bardsley made a superb block to deny Tony McMahon a quickfire equaliser, but the Teessiders dragged themselves back into the game 12 minutes after the break when January signing Lukas Jutkiewicz fired home his first goal for the club.
Boro boss Tony Mowbray was able to take little consolation from the fact that his promotion-chasers had pushed a Premier League side all the way.
He said: "The overriding emotion is disappointment, of course. It's a game we haven't won and somewhere along the line, statistics will be used to say we haven't won since Boxing Day, as I am hearing a lot at the moment.
"It's little consolation. The bottom line is when you go to extra-time, you have got to come out winning the football match, not having any consolation that you might have done okay in the game.
"We didn't win it and Sunderland found a way to win it tonight."