Sunderland 2 Tottenham 2: Cats scrap to make point

Ricky Alvarez

Ricky Alvarez

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SUNDERLAND salvaged a third draw from four Premier League games after visitors Spurs failed to make their superiority count.

The Black Cats were outplayed for long periods at the Stadium of Light, as Spurs monopolised possession and twice hit the woodwork, only to be pegged back on two occasions by Gus Poyet’s men.

In a breathless start, there were two goals inside the opening four minutes as Nacer Chadli’s opener was cancelled out by an excellent solo effort from Adam Johnson.

Spurs took the lead early in the second half when Christian Eriksen bundled the ball home, and Sunderland were distinctly second-best in their efforts to get back in the game.

But the Black Cats pulled level in the 82nd minute when substitute Jordi Gomez’s free-kick deflected off Spurs replacement Harry Kane into the bottom corner.

New signing Ricky Alvarez was thrown straight into the starting line-up, as the Argentine international came in on the right-hand side of midfield, with Adam Johnson switching to the left and Connor Wickham moving into a central role.

Alvarez took Steven Fletcher’s place in the starting line-up, with the Scotland international not even included on the bench.

There were two changes for Spurs, with Vlad Chiriches and Moussa Dembele replacing Jan Vertonghen and Nabil Bentaleb.

Sunderland made a sloppy start and had a let-off within the opening 60 seconds when Christian Eriksen picked out ex-Black Cats loanee Danny Rose down the left-hand side of the area whose low shot was saved well by Vito Mannone.

But moments later, Sunderland were behind when Emanuele Adebayor let fly with a right-shot from distance which Mannone could only push into the path of Nacer Chadli, who tucked home the rebound.

By the fourth minute, Poyet’s side were level, as Seb Larsson shifted the ball to the left-hand side of the area for Johnson, who skipped beyond two Spurs defenders before his right-footed shot took a deflection and beat Hugo Lloris.

In a breathtaking start, Spurs could have regained the lead within a minute when Chadli’s shot from the left-hand side of the area took an awkward deflection and was saved well by Mannone.

And then seconds later, Eriksen lifted the ball over the top of the Sunderland defence for Adebayor, who beat the offside trap, but saw his effort blocked at point-blank range by Mannone.

Spurs monopolised possession in the exchanges which followed - albeit they didn’t necessarily create anything clear-cut - with Sunderland struggling to get hold of the ball.

The woodwork spared Sunderland in the 38th minute when Moussa Dembele let fly with a left-footed shot from 25 yards which crashed off the outside of the post.

HALF-TIME Sunderland 1 Spurs 1

Spurs regained the lead three minutes of the restart after the visitors robbed Jack Rodwell in the middle of the park and broke at pace.

Adebayor played in Chadli down the left-hand side of the area, whose low cross pinballed off Patrick van Aanholt and Wes Brown before Eriksen cushioned the ball into the bottom corner.

Sunderland had struggled to create anything since their equaliser, yet Johnson came desperately close to a second in the 68th minute when the winger let fly with a rasping left-footed shot from 30 yards which flew wide by an inch or two.

The woodwork saved Sunderland for a second time in the 75th minute when Erik Lamela curled a delicious left-footed shot from the edge of the area which crashed off the underside of the bar.

But with eight minutes remaining, Sunderland levelled for a second time after substitute Jordi Gomez whipped in a left-footed free-kick from the left-hand side of the box.

The ball drifted across the face before bouncing off Spurs substitute Harry Kane at the back post and richocheting into the net.

Sunderland had a golden chance to win it in the last minute when Emanuele Giaccherini played in the overlapping van Aanholt down the left-hand side of the area.

Van Aanholt pulled it back into the path of Wickham and Will Buckley, with the latter lifting the ball harmlessly over the bar.

FULL-TIME Sunderland 2 Spurs 2

SUNDERLAND: Mannone, Vergini, O’Shea, Brown, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Larsson (Giaccherini 65), Rodwell (Gomez 79), Alvarez (Buckley 65), Johnson, Wickham. Subs not used: Pantilimon, Jones, Bridcutt, Altidore. Booked: van Aanholt (86), Vergini (88), Wickham (90), Gomez (90), Brown (90)

SPURS: Lloris, Dier, Chiriches, Kaboul, Rose, Capoue, Dembele, Chadli (Stambouli 70), Lamela, Eriksen (Lennon 86), Adebayor (Kane 79). Subs not used: Vorm, Naughton, Townsend, Fazio. Booked: Dier (61)

Attendance: 40,799

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