English Premiership

Tottenham see off Sunderland

2015-01-17 19:42
Christian Eriksen (Getty Images)

London - Christian Eriksen's goal two minutes from time and crucial late saves from Hugo Lloris helped Tottenham to a 2-1 Premier League win over Sunderland at White Hart Lane on Saturday to lift Spurs above Arsenal and into fifth.

Struggling Sunderland turned up in north London proudly fielding their new signing, former Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe, the 32-year-old having only joined from FC Toronto on a three-and-a-half year deal on Friday.

In-form Harry Kane returned after skipping Spurs' FA Cup replay win over Burnley in midweek.

Tottenham raced into a third minute lead when defender Jan Vertonghen's shot found the back of the net with significant assistance on its way from a deflection off John O'Shea.

The hosts went close to doubling their advantage as the half hour approached, with only Costel Pantilimon's fine save denying Eriksen's goalbound effort.

Minutes later Steven Fletcher should have levelled for Sunderland, the striker somehow managing to miss from six yards after charging onto Billy Jones' cross at the far post.

Justice for the visitors arrived seconds later when Sebastian Larsson curled in a 25-yard free kick awarded when Vertonghen felled Defoe, the ball passing over the wall and into the far corner.

In first half stoppage time Kane hit the woodwork, with Pantilimon keeping out former Sunderland player Danny Rose's follow-up strike.

After the restart Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino brought on Emmanuel Adebayor in place of the out of sorts Roberto Soldado for the Togo forward's first appearance since November 9.

And Adebayor almost instantly repaid that vote of confidence when he flicked the ball onto Nacer Chadli only for Pantilimon's hand to get in the way of the Belgian winger's volley.

Defoe's proud record of scoring on his debut for every club he's played for in his long career ended at White Hart Lane when after a quiet start he made way for Danny Graham.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris produced a fine double save to deal with strikes from Adam Johnson and Graham.

Then, just as the match appeared to be heading for a draw, Eriksen popped up to bag the points for Tottenham.

Andros Townsend, shortly after coming on for Mousa Dembele, set up the Danish midfielder to shoot right-footed from outside the box and into the bottom left corner of Pantilimon's net.

There was late drama as first only a lightning reaction save from Lloris prevented Graham's drive from securing a draw, while down at the other end Vertonghen's slotted into an empty net, but it was disallowed.

This defeat left Sunderland fifth from bottom, one point above the relegation zone.

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