Chopra denies deliberately not shooting in derby

Sunderland striker Michael Chopra has hit back at claims he deliberately opted not to shoot against Newcastle United when he was presented with a late chance to score against his former club in the Tyne-Weir derby.

The Black Cats' forward - born in Newcastle and whose only Premier League goal for the Magpies was against Sunderland in April 2006 - went one-on-one with, Toon glove-man, Steve Harper in the dying moments of the derby on February 1 with the scores locked at 1-1.

However, he opted - and failed - to pick out strike partner Kenwyne Jones rather than attempt to net the winning goal against his old club.

That proved to be his last appearance for Ricky Sbragia'a side, for now, with the Scottish boss shipping the striker back on loan to Cardiff City, where he has already made 11 appearances in a previous loan spell this season , scoring five times,

And Chopra has reacted angrily to suggestions he deliberately opted out of shooting to prevent doing the dirty on his boyhood team.

"I haven't got a point to prove to anybody," he told the South Wales Echo. "I have read a lot about the Newcastle game and comments by a certain Gary Rowell. He knocked me for not shooting, and at the end of the day, I took a wrong option. You can't win.

"But in a previous game, the same thing happened and we scored, so the guy should shut his month because he doesn't know what he's talking about. Last season, my six goals earned Sunderland 13 points, so his point really doesn't hold any water. It's absolutely nonsense to suggest that I didn't want to shoot against Newcastle.

"I made my mind up early and that was it. On another day, I might have hit the ball first time and scored; I might have missed and people would have said I should have squared the ball."

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