A second-half own-goal from Carlos Cuellar and a wonderful strike from Aaron Lennon cancelled out a John O’Shea opener to earn all three points for Tottenham over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in a 2-1 win. Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
It was a thoroughly deserved win for Andre Villas-Boas’ team and further enhanced their claims for a Champions League qualification spot as they defeated a largely mediocre Black Cats side.
The hosts made one enforced change from their Boxing Day win over Manchester City, with O’Shea replacing left back Danny Rose, who was ineligible against his former club, while Spurs made a change to their central defensive pair, with Steven Caulker and Michael Dawson coming in for Jan Vertonghen and William Gallas.
The opening 20 minutes on Wearside was a tight and cagey affair, with neither side able to stamp a footprint on the game, however as the half wore on it was the visitors who began to dominate proceedings.
And after half an hour they came within inches of getting the opening goal as Jermain Defoe found space on the left-side of the penalty area and curled a shot towards the far post which was not properly cleared by defender Carlos Cuellar and Emmanuel Adebayor pounced, only to see his shot cannon back off the crossbar from little more than four yards out.
The visitors kept up a sustained period of pressure, creating several half-chances, so when the first goal came, it did so very much against the run of play.
Sebastien Larsson whipped in a devilish free-kick from the left which found Steven Fletcher at the near post and he got the better of several Spurs defenders and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to flick the ball into the path of a totally unmarked O’Shea who rolled the ball into the empty net to give his side a somewhat undeserved lead.
That was the last chance of the half, but just three minutes into the second Tottenham grabbed a well-deserved leveler.
Kyle Walker took an in-swinging corner from the left which would have been met by the head of Gareth Bale, but before it reached the Welshman it deflected into the net off the head of Cuellar after he collided with team-mate Craig Gardner.
And just two minutes later the comeback was complete, as Lennon scored an outstanding goal to edge the visitors in front.
The England winger picked up the ball just outside the penalty area and nudged the ball into space before speeding around a static O’Shea to expertly finish past a helpless Simon Mingolet.
It was the outstanding moment of quality in the game, and gave Spurs the lead their play up until that point merited.
And 10 minutes later Tottenham had a great chance to put the game beyond doubt as Gareth Bale picked up the ball inside his own half and drove the ball forward down the left before squaring for an unmarked Defoe who from four yards out was denied by a stunning save by Mingolet - although the England striker will know he should have done better.
Sunderland were struggling to get themselves back into the game, and Migolet was forced once again to save his side when he denied Adebayor with 10 minutes left.
The final minutes failed to produce any outstanding chances, and Spurs held-on to record a second-consecutive away win.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Carlos Cuellar
- Aaron Lennon
- Jermain Defoe