Daryl Janmaat has blasted the “crazy” decision which he felt cost 10-man Newcastle United the Wear-Tyne derby.
The defeat stretched the Magpies’ losing sequence againsr their fierce rivals to six games.
But Janmaat felt the result would have been very different had captain Fabricio Coloccini, dismissed for a foul on Steven Fletcher late in the first half, stayed on the pitch.
The defender also did not think referee Robert Madley – who had failed to penalise Lee Cattermole for a foul on Georginio Wijnaldum seconds earlier – should have pointed to the penalty spot.
Adam Johnson converted the spot-kick, and Billy Jones and Fletcher netted after the break to give the scoreline a lop-sided look.
Newcastle had been dominant until Coloccini challenged Fletcher.
And right-back Janmaat said: “I think we were by far the better team in the first half, and then we get a red card like this – it was unbelievable.
“I don’t like to blame referees, but that was not a penalty. I think everybody saw it – and a red card is crazy in my opinion.
“It kills the game. I don’t like excuses, but I think we had 70 per cent possession in the first half and were far better than them.
“In the second half we lost the game with 10 men. It disappointing, because in the first half we played well.”
Asked if he thought the foul by Coloccini was not a red card or penalty, he added: “I think it was nothing. It’s a contact sport.”
Newcastle created a series of first-half chances, and their failure to convert them proved costly.
The Tynesiders have now gone 303 minutes against Sunderland without a goal.
Janmaat said: “We had some good chances, and we needed to score.
“We were far better. That’s what’s so disappointing. We didn’t deserve it.”
Newcastle are back in action when they host Stoke City at St James’s Park on Saturday.
The Potters lost 2-0 at home to Watford at the weekend, but had previously won three on the trot, including away to Swansea and Villa.