Tottenham's winless streak in the Premier League was extended to four matches yesterday after Asamoah Gyan clinched a 1-1 draw for Sunderland.
Spurs held by Sunderland
LONDON // Tottenham's winless streak in the Premier League was extended to four matches yesterday after Asamoah Gyan clinched a 1-1 draw for Sunderland.
The Ghana striker exploited a mix-up in the Spurs defence in the 67th minute to net his third goal in two matches for Sunderland, wiping out Tottenham's lead less than three minutes after Rafael van der Vaart had put his side ahead.
"Once we scored, I couldn't see us not winning - they'd not really had a shot," Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said. "We suddenly get the mix-up and it all changes."
Spurs failed to reproduce the attacking ruthlessness that secured a victory over holder Inter Milan on the same ground in the Champions League a week earlier.
Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon meanwhile pulled off a string of fine saves on his first appearance of the season after recovering from a broken arm.
The first came after two minutes, diving low to deny Luka Modric's shot from the edge of the penalty area.
A two-handed save from Gordon also thwarted Van der Vaart's effort from a tight angle. And a powerful strike from David Bentley was tipped over by the Scotland goalkeeper just before half time after the midfielder cut in from the right on his first league start since May.
Spurs were seeing just why Sunderland had not conceded in four of its previous five matches and Pavlyuchenko was hauled off at half time, with Peter Crouch taking the Russia forward's place.
Bentley had a penalty claim dismissed and was adjudged to have dived by referee Howard Webb under Bolo Zenden's challenge.
But Spurs made their breakthrough when Crouch headed on Gareth Bale's cross at the far post beyond Gordon and Van der Vaart brought the ball down with his chest before spinning and sending it in the net.
Confusion, though, in the Spurs defense between William Gallas and Younes Kaboul allowed Danny Welbeck's pass through to Gyan, with Ghana's top performer from the World Cup sliding the ball beyond goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
Sunderland has relied on Gyan and Darren Bent, who is out injured, for all its goals this season. The only others have been own goals.
"We made hard work of it in the first half," Sunderland manager Steve Bruce said. "Let's not take anything away from Tottenham, they're a very, very good team.
"The one thing we tried to do in the first half was stop their midfield dominance. To be fair, it didn't work, so we changed it second half."
Sunderland is level with Spurs on 16 points - nine behind leader Chelsea, which hosts Fulham in the west London derby on Wednesday.