Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Sunderland 1.
- Spurs climb to fifth with late victory
- Defoe wins free-kick for Larsson equaliser
- Former Spurs striker fails to score on debut
- Eriksen scores for first time since 26 December
Christian Eriksen's late goal kept up Tottenham's Champions League push as Sunderland debutant Jermain Defoe was beaten on his White Hart Lane return.
Jan Vertonghen's deflected shot gave Spurs an early advantage.
But former Tottenham striker Defoe, who signed for Sunderland from Toronto FC on Friday, won the free-kick from which Sebastian Larsson equalised.
Harry Kane hit the post for Spurs before Eriksen struck with two minutes to go from Andros Townsend's pass.
Substitute Danny Graham almost snatched an equaliser for the visitors, but Hugo Lloris made an excellent save to push away his shot.
There was then confusion as Black Cats keeper Costel Pantilimon came up for the resulting corner and was caught upfield as Vertonghen raced away to score at the other end - but the Belgian was ruled offside despite receiving the ball in his own half.
Defoe, who left Tottenham for Major League Soccer side Toronto in February, was unable to keep up a record of scoring on his debut for every club he has represented.
|Eriksen's late, late show|
|Christian Eriksen has now scored a winning goal in the last two minutes of a match for Tottenham three times this season - having struck in the 90th minute at Hull on 23 November and the 89th minute at Swansea on 14 December. Both of those games, like the match against Sunderland, finished 2-1.|
The 32-year-old, playing his first match since October, lasted 75 minutes before he was replaced by Graham, but may need time to build up his match fitness.
He had a penalty appeal rejected seconds after Vertonghen's opener, but did not manage to fashion a clear chance against Spurs, for whom he hit 117 goals in two spells.
Spurs led from their first attack, when Santiago Vergini's weak clearance from an Eriksen chip fell to Vertonghen, who side-stepped Larsson to score via a deflection off John O'Shea.
Eriksen was denied by two Pantilimon saves as Tottenham sought a second goal, before Steven Fletcher missed a glorious chance to equalise for Sunderland, scuffing Billy Jones's low right-wing cross past the far post when unmarked six yards out.
But the visitors did draw level from a free-kick awarded when Vertonghen hacked down Defoe 25 yards from goal, with Larsson flighting a beautiful dipping effort over the wall and into the corner of the net.
Kane nearly restored Tottenham's lead with the last attack of the first half, driving a shot against the base of the post from just outside the penalty area.
|You know the score|
|Ten of Tottenham's last 14 Premier League matches have finished 2-1 - with seven of those being wins and three defeats.|
But the match looked to be heading towards a draw before it opened up in the last 15 minutes, with Graham stubbing at a great chance to put the visitors in front after Lloris had beaten out Adam Johnson's 25-yard drive.
Eriksen struck with time running out, however, guiding Townsend's pass in off the post from 20 yards out, and leaving Sunderland only a point above the bottom three.
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino: "We played much better than Sunderland, and in the second half, I thought we were better. Christian Eriksen is a very good player, and this is a very good victory.
"Hugo Lloris is one of the best keepers in the world, and he showed that late on. But I thought the officials got confused about the late disallowed goal for Jan Vertonghen, because it was a goal."
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet: "It's painful. I thought we were good enough to take something from the game. I think we need to learn. We lost the game today because of a couple of incidents, but I think we can take positives.
We created a great chance in the first half for Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham has forced a great save at the end and I think we should have had a penalty for a foul on Jermain Defoe. I'm sure Jermain going to give me plenty of positives."
- 5VertonghenBooked at 30mins
- 19DembéléSubstituted forTownsendat 75'minutes
- 22ChadliSubstituted forPaulinhoat 88'minutes
- 9SoldadoSubstituted forAdebayorat 61'minutes
- 2JonesBooked at 87minsSubstituted forBuckleyat 90+2'minutes
- 8RodwellBooked at 58mins
- 3van Aanholt
- 9FletcherSubstituted forWickhamat 65'minutes
- 28DefoeSubstituted forGrahamat 75'minutes
- 14Gomez Garcia-Penche
- Chris Foy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Sunderland 1.
Attempt missed. Santiago Vergini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Paulinho tries a through ball, but Jan Vertonghen is caught offside.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Hugo Lloris.
Attempt saved. Danny Graham (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Patrick van Aanholt.
Substitution, Sunderland. William Buckley replaces Billy Jones.
Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 2, Sunderland 1. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andros Townsend.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Paulinho replaces Nacer Chadli.
Billy Jones (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Billy Jones (Sunderland).
Attempt missed. Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Christian Eriksen.
Attempt blocked. Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andros Townsend.
Foul by Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur).
Billy Jones (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).
Attempt saved. Danny Graham (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Adam Johnson.
Attempt saved. Adam Johnson (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Connor Wickham.