Premier League
SunderlandSunderland1TottenhamTottenham Hotspur2

Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

By Aimee LewisBBC Sport
Adam Johnson scores for Sunderland

Sunderland remain rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table as Tottenham eased the pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas with a gutsy win.

A Hugo Lloris error allowed Adam Johnson to confidently score from eight yards to give Sunderland the lead.

Paulinho poked in at the near post to level and Spurs then went ahead thanks to John O'Shea's clumsy own goal.

Jermain Defoe twice struck the woodwork and Sunderland had a worthy penalty appeal turned down in a lively match.

Tottenham substitute Sandro appeared to handle the ball when defending a second-half corner, but referee Lee Mason dismissed Sunderland's protests and so went the home team's hopes of dragging themselves back into contention.

A second home defeat of the week - albeit against Champions League hopefuls Chelsea and Tottenham - leaves the Black Cats five points adrift from safety.

It also means manager Gus Poyet must hope for maximum points against fellow strugglers West Ham next week if his team are to achieve their target of reaching 16 points by the end of the year.

At the other end of the table, two points adrift of a Champions League spot, are Tottenham and Villas-Boas seems to have silenced his critics, for now at least, with a second successive victory.

Indeed, the visitors could have won by a handsomer margin, with Defoe's intelligent running causing problems, but Tottenham - whose goal tally this season now moves to 15 - continue to lack a certain ruthlessness in front of goal.

Credit must go to players - Villas-Boas

The numerous chances each team enjoyed was a far cry from the opening half-hour which was a tale of half-opportunities and hopeful attempts from distance with both defences holding firm when under attack from forwards lacking poise and composure in the final third.

Paulinho and Lewis Holtby took aim from outside the box for Tottenham, while Jack Colback and Steven Fletcher wasted opportunities for Sunderland.

The game's first attempt on target arrived in the 32nd minute thanks to a tame Nacer Chadli header, which failed to trouble Vito Mannone in the Sunderland goal.

But, then, the match burst into life when Lloris made the baffling decision to punch Ondrej Celustka's trivial-looking cross towards the far post. The ball fell into Adam Johnson's path and the midfielder struck for his first league goal of the season.

Tottenham had monopolised possession in the 10 minutes leading to the opener so it was perhaps deserved when the equaliser arrived almost immediately. Chadli headed a deep free-kick towards Paulinho and the Brazilian stabbed home at the near post.

Unfortunately for the hosts, the visitors did not take long to double their advantage after the break with Tottenham's first real attack resulting in a goal as O'Shea flicked Mousa Dembele's cross into his near post.

It was the fifth own goal the Black Cats had conceded this season, and within minutes they could have fallen further behind but for superb defending from Johnson when the unmarked Holtby was ready to pounce.

But Sunderland were retreating towards their own goal and Tottenham were growing in confidence.

Only the crossbar prevented Defoe from extending Tottenham's lead with a close-range header, while the striker dragged another glorious opportunity wide after being set free by the ever-alert Holtby.

Own goals no 'coincidence' - Poyet

The match ended in a hat-trick of wasted chances for Defoe as he cleverly darted across the goal and struck the post with a deft flick.

But Sunderland continued to search for the equaliser with Fletcher, standing on the edge of the box, heading Seb Larsson's cross wide and then came the convincing penalty appeal.

Substitute Fabio Borini went close late on as Spurs failed to deal with a tricky Larsson cross, but Tottenham saw off the danger to extend their unbeaten run over Sunderland to seven league matches.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas: "It was a very important win for us. It completes a good, good week, a good start to December.

"Two away fixtures, a Premier League midweek fixture and Manchester United at home was always a difficult scenario following our defeat against City, so it's a great fightback from the team finally completed. And we have put ourselves back on track in a position where we can challenge for the top.

"Credit to the players. Our group has been immense in this situation that we faced and fought back to these great results recently."

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet on conceding five own goals this season: "One, two, three - bad luck. Five? Too many. Me, I believe in coincidence once, twice. Five? No, I don't.

"Somehow always something happens. Who is going to be next? Do you know? Let me know so I don't play him."



Formation 4-4-2

  • 25Mannone
  • 12CelustkaBooked at 39minsSubstituted forGiaccheriniat 77'minutes
  • 2Bardsley
  • 4Ki Sung-yueng
  • 16O'Shea
  • 5Brown
  • 7Larsson
  • 14ColbackSubstituted forCattermoleat 67'minutes
  • 9Fletcher
  • 17AltidoreBooked at 87mins
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forBoriniat 67'minutes


  • 3Dossena
  • 8Gardner
  • 13Pickford
  • 21Diakité
  • 23Giaccherini
  • 31Borini
  • 33Cattermole


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 25Lloris
  • 2Walker
  • 16Naughton
  • 19DembéléSubstituted forGuimarães Cordeiroat 73'minutes
  • 15Capoue
  • 20Dawson
  • 7Lennon
  • 8Paulinho
  • 18Defoe
  • 14HoltbySubstituted forTownsendat 79'minutes
  • 21ChadliSubstituted forG Sigurdssonat 84'minutes


  • 9Soldado
  • 11Lamela
  • 17Townsend
  • 22G Sigurdsson
  • 24Friedel
  • 30Guimarães Cordeiro
  • 35Fryers
Lee Mason

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamTottenham
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sunderland 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sunderland 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

  3. Post update

    Gylfi Sigurdsson (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

  5. Post update

    Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Vito Mannone.

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jermain Defoe.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson with a cross.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Emanuele Giaccherini with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Michael Dawson.

  10. Post update

    Gylfi Sigurdsson (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland).

  12. Booking

    Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jozy Altidore (Sunderland).

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Etienne Capoue (Tottenham Hotspur).

  17. Post update

    Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Gylfi Sigurdsson replaces Nacer Chadli.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Andros Townsend with a cross.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

As It Stood

4Man City1592441152629
9Man Utd156452219322
10Aston Villa145451616019
15West Brom153661721-415
17West Ham153481319-613
18Crystal Palace1541101022-1213
View full Premier League table

Top Stories