Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2

Tottenham leapfrogged Chelsea and moved up to fourth in the Premier League table after coming from behind to beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
With William Gallas off the field changing his boots, Asamoah Gyan's skilful finish opened the scoring.
But Spurs equalised on the stroke of half-time through Michael Dawson's thunderous header direct from a corner.
Niko Kranjcar had an excellent game and the Croat gave the visitors all three points with a terrific volley.
The north Londoners can now travel to Milan for their Champions League last-16 tie in good spirits, with manager Harry Redknapp hoping to add Rafael van der Vaart to his squad should the flying Dutchman recover from the injury that kept him out of this game.

An indication that Redknapp had Tuesday's European tie at the forefront of his mind came in his starting selection.
Already robbed of leading scorer Van der Vaart because of injury, the Spurs boss also rested Peter Crouch and Aaron Lennon - but with both teams starting in a 4-4-2 formation the initial signs were encouraging for the visitors.
However, with their first genuine attack, Sunderland scored - and they did it with Tottenham needlessly down to 10 men as Gallas laced up a replacement pair of boots.
Absurdly, the Frenchman had already changed his mind about which length of studs was most appropriate during the warm-up - but after 10 minutes went back to his original selection.
Meanwhile, Kieran Richardson found space down the left flank, and swung a telling cross through to Gyan.
The Ghanaian, so important now for the Black Cats in the post-Darren Bent era, took one touch with his left boot before turning and firing his shot through Dawson's legs and into the bottom corner of the Tottenham goal.
One had to sympathise with Dawson, forced to mark both Gyan and the advancing midfielder Stephane Sessegnon. The defender's job would have been half as complicated with Gallas on the field.
For 20 minutes or so, the home side pressed hard in midfield, while their opponents generally laboured, both sides struggling to create meaningful opportunitity

The match proved an unedifying spectacle until Spurs won a corner following their first move of real quality, John Mensah making an important block with Jermain Defoe poised to strike.
Phil Bardsley's clearing header went out for a second corner, and this time Dawson rose majestically from Steven Pienaar's delivery to head home from near the penalty spot.
Craig Gordon might have done better - but Gallas, intentionally or otherwise, made a screening run across the Sunderland goalkeeper to block his line of sight at the crucial moment.
Unsurprisingly lifted by the goal, the visitors were the more dangerous side early in the second half.
One particularly skilful move looked like ending in a goal for Gallas, who was just inches from goal when toe-poking his shot straight at Gordon.
In a rare Sunderland break Richardson fed Steed Malbranque, but his shot was cleared away by Dawson before Tottenham launched another attack.
This time, Sandro made the critical break from the right flank before firing in a good cross. Titus Bramble's header away was not controlled, and Kranjcar was in exactly the right place to smack a first-time volley with finesse and power past a stranded Gordon.
Kranjcar was making only his second Premier League start of the season, but the longer the game went on the more accomplished he looked, finding plenty of space on the left-side of midfield.
With Sandro also beginning to enjoy himself in a central position alongside him, Spurs began to control affairs.
Ahmed Elmohamady came on for Malbranque as Sunderland pushed Sessegnon up to play alongside Gyan, and Redknapp opted for the pace of Aaron Lennon over a tiring Pienaar for the final 15 minutes.
There were few notable exchanges towards the end of the game, and although they received some raucous support throughout Sunderland were left to reflect on their third consecutive defeat in the league.

No comments:

Post a Comment