Alan Irvine concedes "soft penalty" decision

West Bromwich Albion player Saido Berahino celebrates his penalty conversion during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland at The Hawthorns on August 16, 2014
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West Bromwich Albion boss Alan Irvine concedes that the Baggies were fortunate to be awarded a "soft penalty" in their 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

Alan Irvine has admitted that his West Bromwich Albion team benefited from a "soft penalty" decision in their 2-2 draw with Sunderland at The Hawthorns today.

The Black Cats looked on course to take a 1-0 lead into half time of their Premier League curtain raiser courtesy of Lee Cattermole's fifth-minute opener.

However, referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to the spot on 43 minutes when Victor Anichebe went down under a challenge from Valentin Roberge, before Saido Berahino converted from 12 yards.

"It was soft a soft penalty for us. I've got to say I didn't look at the referee straight away for a penalty. But I was delighted that we got it," Irvine told BBC Sport.

"We came back from being an early goal down to a fantastic strike by Lee Cattermole. I'm pleased about that and about a lot of aspects of our performance.

"We're obviously still trying to get a number of our players up to speed."

Berahino bagged his second to fire the Baggies ahead on 74 minutes, but Sebastian Larsson pounced in the closing minutes of normal time to rescue a point for Sunderland.

Lee Cattermole of Sunderland scores the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland at The Hawthorns on August 16, 2014
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