Visitors left frustrated on Wearside as they struggled to break down resilient Black Cats defense as both teams settle for a point each at the Stadium of LightTottenham climbed above Arsenal into third place in the Premier League but was frustrated as it was forced to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Spurs should have taken the lead when Aaron Lennon dissected the Black Cats defence with a lovely through ball which Rafael Van der Vaart latched onto but his chipped effort was cleared off the line.
Aside from that chance clear cut opportunities were hard to come by as both teams struggled to break down the opposition due to some resilient defending as both sides settled for a point each on Wearside.
Both managers opted for unchanged teams as Martin O’Neill stuck with the same side which drew 3-3 with Manchester City last week. While Harry Redknapp chose the same 11 that beat Swansea last Sunday.
Tottenham began the game strongly and dominated possession for the opening five minutes which lead to a long range chance for Benoit Assou-Ekotto who struck the ball from 25-yards with power and the ball crept just past the post.
Spurs had a shout for a penalty turned down by referee Chris Foy after Emmanuel Adebayor’s header from six-yards appeared to strike the arm of Phil Bardsley stopping the ball on its way to the net.
After Redknapp’s side dominance in the early stages Sunderland began to creep into the game and forced some pressure through the boot of Sebastian Larsson who hit three dangerous balls in succession into the Brad Friedel’s area which were well dealt with by the Tottenham defence.
The Black Cats also had a penalty claim turned down from Foy when it appeared Parker handled in the area when trying to clear the ball which had O’Neill and his players up in arms at the decision as the referee waved play on.
Spurs tried to regain their control of the game towards the end of the half, as they looked to give Gareth Bale as much of the ball as possible as for the majority of first period he was anonymous.
However Sunderland defended deep and with resilience to ensure Redknapp’s side could not create anything meaningful as the half ended goalless.
The game started the second period like it began the first as Spurs settled into their possession while the Black Cats again opted to sit back and absorb the pressure which worked well for them in the first-half.
However a mistake by Lee Cattermole nearly allowed Tottenham in, as Luka Modric ever so nearly found Adebayor but Michael Turner intercepted the pass and cleared only as far as Sandro who let fly with a vicious effort which was well blocked by Craig Gardner.
Spurs were beginning to click into gear and were finding a better rhythm to their passing which led to an opening for Bale who found himself free in the area but the Welshman could only head Assou-Ekotto’s cross over the bar.
Sunderland responded immediately to this threat with a decent chance of its own as Stephane Sessegnon found Larsson on the right who hit a dangerous ball into the area and Kyle Walker needed to be at his best to divert the ball behind for a corner with McClean lurking.
Redknapp’s side then had a glorious chance to take the lead when substitute Aaron Lennon slid a wonderful through ball for Van der Vaart who took the ball in stride and chipped the ball towards goal but Michael Turner was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
Sunderland applied late pressure through set-pieces from Larsson however the Tottenham defense especially Younes Kaboul was equal to the dangerous deliveries from the Swede.
Bale had an excellent chance to win the game for Spurs as he picked the ball up in midfield from a Jack Colback mistake and drove towards the box but he was well tackled by Gardner before he could threaten Simon Mignolet’s goal as both teams settled for a point at the Stadium of Light.
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