Newcastle boss Alan Pardew likened Fabricio Coloccini to Bobby Moore after seeing his captain turn in a superb display in a hard-fought derby draw at Sunderland.
The Argentinian had guided the 10-man Magpies to within 10 minutes of a second successive victory on Wearside when cramp forced his departure, and the Black Cats took full advantage to snatch a point at the death through Demba Ba's 85th-minute own goal.
Pardew said: "Maybe if Coloccini had stayed on, he would have seen that out. He was absolutely phenomenal today. If you want an example of a centre-half playing where you have got to head it, kick it, cover people, get in the right position and then have the calmness to play, that was your example."
He added: "I come from a famous football club, West Ham, and that was like watching Bobby Moore today. He was terrific. You have also got to understand - and it sometimes goes a little bit under the radar - at the Premier League level, what is asked of you physically."
But if Sunderland emerged with a face-saving point, it was the visitors who returned to Tyneside with a moral victory after playing for 65 minutes with a man down following Cheick Tiote's dismissal - the first for a Newcastle player in a competitive derby - for a foul on Steven Fletcher.
Pardew said: "If we had had 11, I think he could have made the game, but because we went down to 10, there was just too much work for him and both calves tightened up. But what a performance, seriously, one of the best he has given for me, for sure."
Newcastle came within five minutes of claiming a second successive victory in enemy territory after Yohan Cabaye had given them a third-minute lead with a well-struck shot.
However, Tiote's premature departure for a reckless challenge on Steven Fletcher changed the game and although the Magpies defended manfully, they were undone at the death when John O'Shea's header hit the unwitting Ba and flew past Tim Krul.
Sunderland have now won just one of the last 16 derbies, but perhaps more worryingly, have tasted victory only once in the 15 Barclays Premier League matches they have played since March.
Manager Martin O'Neill said: "When we equalised, it was one of the best moments, it really was, and to be accompanied by that noise...there's an element of relief, but every derby game I have ever been involved in either here or in Scotland, there has always been an element of relief."