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Barclays Premier League

Stadium of Light (ATT 39,335) 7th April 2012 - Kick off 12:45 Ref: C Foy

S'land Sunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham

S'land 0

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Dour draw on Wearside

Spurs draw a blank at the Stadium of Light

Last Updated: 07/04/12 5:01pm

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Tottenham were able to move back into third place on Saturday, but an uninspiring 0-0 draw with Sunderland left plenty of room for improvement.

Man of the match: Craig Gardner. Helped to keep Tottenham at arm's length and put in a brilliant last-ditch challenge on Gareth Bale late in the game. Effort of the match: In a game of few opportunities, a speculative strike from Benoit Assou-Ekotto came close to catching Simon Mignolet off guard. Moment of the match: Kyle Walker did really well to deny James McClean a tap in as Sunderland looked to snatch a dramatic winner. Talking point: Can Tottenham cling on to their top-four standing? How much credit does Martin O'Neill deserve for turning Sunderland into a side that are hard to beat?

Spurs bossed possession at the Stadium of Light, but they were unable to break down a stubborn Black Cats outfit that was happy to sit deep and play counter-attacking football.

Emmanuel Adebayor saw a penalty shout waved away during a hard-fought first half, as his header struck Phil Bardsley on the arm, but neither keeper was overly troubled during an opening 45 minutes that brought plenty of graft but little guile.

Things failed to improve after the interval, with Spurs found to be lacking in ideas and Sunderland happy to stand firm and pick up another point.

Hunger

Although a point was enough to nudge Spurs ahead of North London rivals Arsenal, Harry Redknapp's hunger for a win was obvious in his late introductions of Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe.

Adebayor, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart all came close for the visitors who started well but faded as Martin O'Neill's resolute Sunderland held firm.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, the best opportunities for Sunderland fell to Stephane Sessegnon and Nicklas Bendtner, but there was precious little to threaten either of the two goalkeepers.

Given the attacking riches on show that came as something of a surprise, and goals certainly seemed to be in the offing in the early stages which the visitors largely dominated.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto saw his fierce low drive deflected wide, then Adebayor nudged a Van der Vaart cross goalwards but it was deflected past the post by Bardsley.

Sunderland had little to show for their efforts until a 33rd-minute mistake by Sandro threatened to gift Sessegnon a run on goal, but the midfielder responded with a fine saving challenge.

Pressure

As Spurs' early pressure gradually subsided, the hosts had a loud penalty appeal for a handball against Scott Parker turned down by referee Chris Foy.

Bendtner almost turned in a Bardsley drive but was well smothered by Brad Friedel, and moments later Craig Gardner's header from a Bardsley cross was easily held by the keeper.

William Gallas stumbled attempting to clear a James McClean cross in the 39th minute and, with the Black Cats continuing to press, McClean headed over from a Sebastian Larsson cross.

Van der Vaart struck a goal-bound effort in the last minute which was blocked by Matthew Kilgallon as the two sides ended a sporadically entertaining first half on level terms.

O'Neill's men almost made a dramatic start to the second half, McClean finding Sessegnon in the box and the striker's low shot striking the legs of Gallas.

Denied

The impressive Jack Colback, playing in an unfamiliar full-back role, denied Adebayor a close-range chance in the 52nd minute when he blocked a ball into the box by Modric.

Adebayor was caught narrowly offside as he attempted to scissor-kick home a lofted ball from Van der Vaart, then Bale headed onto the roof of the net from a cross by Assou-Ekotto.

Sunderland fashioned a fine chance on the hour when Larsson's low cross from the right looked set to give McClean the simplest of tap-ins before Kyle Walker made a crucial interception.

Van der Vaart cut a furious figure in the Sunderland box in the 73rd minute when his shot was blocked by Michael Turner, with the Dutchman almost alone in claiming a handball.

Walker's foul on McClean gave Sunderland a dangerous free-kick on the left in the 85th minute, but Larsson's set-piece was powerfully headed away by Younes Kaboul.

Bale's last-minute charge goalwards was blocked abruptly by a superb challenge by Gardner, following which the Welshman hobbled gingerly to the sidelines.

SunderlandTeam StatisticsTottenham Hotspur
0Goals0
01st Half Goals0
3Shots on Target1
4Shots off Target8
5Blocked Shots7
11Corners4
13Fouls11
1Offsides2
2Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
73.8Passing Success88.3
22Tackles24
68.2Tackles Success62.5
29.3Possession70.7
55.4Territorial Advantage44.6
267Total Passes684
25Total Crosses19
140Lost Balls147
50Recoveries61
23.21st Half Poss.76.8
33.12nd Half Poss.66.9

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 8 22
2 Manchester City 8 17
3 Southampton 8 16
4 West Ham United 8 13
5 Liverpool 8 13
6 Manchester United 8 12
7 Arsenal 8 11
8 Swansea City 8 11
9 Tottenham Hotspur 8 11
10 Stoke City 8 11
11 Hull City 8 10
12 Aston Villa 8 10
13 Everton 8 9
14 West Bromwich Albion 8 9
15 Leicester City 8 9
16 Crystal Palace 8 8
17 Sunderland 8 8
18 Newcastle United 8 7
19 Burnley 8 4
20 Queens Park Rangers 8 4

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