Aleksandar Mitrovic discusses how it felt to net late derby equaliser

Newcastle Utd - Gate

The Serbian striker headed home an 83rd-minute equaliser to earn Newcastle United a point against Sunderland on Sunday.

Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has opened up on how it felt to score a late equaliser against Sunderland in the vital Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday, telling Serbian outlet Novosti that it was an "explosion of joy", as quoted by the Chronicle.

Jermain Defoe's opener shortly before the break looked to have consigned the Magpies to a seventh straight defeat against their arch-rivals before Mitrovic popped up at the back post to head home with just seven minutes remaining.

It was a hugely important goal, as the Magpies would have been left four points adrift of safety had they been beaten at St. James' Park, but the leveller leaves them within touching distance of both their rivals and escaping the bottom three.

Mitrovic's goal was his first since the start of September and only his seventh of a debut campaign in England which has been characterised by inconsistency and long gaps between each of his goals.

The 21-year-old told Novosti of his relief when he found the net on Sunday, and admitted that the frenzied derby atmosphere made the moment even sweeter.

He said, as quoted by the Chronicle: "This was a very important game for us, we kept the connection with our rivals, and if we had lost we were really in a difficult situation.

"I exploded with joy [when I scored], there was some of our fans on the pitch. The general madness, this is what I really like in football - it pushes me forward."

Mitrovic and Newcastle fans will be hoping that the £14.5-million striker's first goal in six weeks can be a catalyst for an upturn in form for both the player and the team as a whole.

The club must wait two weeks before they get another chance to secure a first win under Rafael Benitez, and their next match is another hugely pivotal clash at the bottom of the table.

The Magpies face 17th-place Norwich City at Carrow Road on the first weekend of April knowing that victory could see them leapfrog the Canaries on goal difference whilst defeat would leave them six points adrift of safety with just seven matches remaining.

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