SUNDERLAND slumped to their third defeat in a row this afternoon as a resilient Spurs side weathered a first-half storm to give themselves the perfect boost ahead of their Champions League game against Inter Milan next week.
For the third game in a row Sunderland lost the game from a position of strength.
Just like the 4-2 defeat to Chelsea and the 3-2 loss to Stoke City they had taken an early lead – making the breakthrough in the 10th minute after Spurs had made a decent fist of taking the game to the visitors.
The goal was a credit to record-signing Asamoah Gyan’s touch and sharpness – Kieran Richardson whipping in a fierce low cross from the left and the African showing great techique to take the pace off the ball at the near post before swivelling and shooting across Heurelho Gomes and into the bottom corner.
It was one a series of touches of class produced by Sunderland in a first-half they dominated and they looked to be going into half-time with a well-deserved lead.
But just a couple of minutes before the break, Spurs were allowed a soft equaliser when Sunderland defended poorly from a corner.
The ball was delivered in from the right and Michael Dawson climbed high to head down and straight at Craig Gordon from 12 yards out - the Scottish goalkeeper, distracted by William Gallas’s run across him, lost sight on the ball and it went through his legs and crossed the line.
It was a kick in the the teeth who had more than matched a classy Spurs side who played well but were toothless in attack.
The second-half did not produce the fluent football of the first but Sunderland were showing signs of gaining the upper hand when they fell behind to a piece of fine football from the visitors.
Vedran Corluka punted a ball into space down the right, Sandro sprinted into it and although John Mensah got his head to the resulting cross, it dropped to Niko Kranjcar on the edge of the box and the Croatian did what he does best, rifling home a sweet right-foot volley.
Sunderland pushed for an equaliser and Kieran Richardson hit the crossbar with 15 minutes remaining but the steam had gone out of the home side who looked tired long before the end and created little in the way of clear-cut chances.