Aaron Lennon hit the winner as Tottenham fought back to claim a 2-1 win at Sunderland
Last Updated: December 30, 2012 9:12am
Aaron Lennon: Scored the winning goal for Tottenham
Tottenham cemented their place in the top-four as Aaron Lennon sealed a 2-1 comeback win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
John O'Shea had given Sunderland the lead just before half-time, but Lennon netted a solo effort as Spurs hit back in the second-period with two goals in a frantic three-minute spell.
Emmanuel Adebayor spurned an early opening for Tottenham when he scuffed the ball at Simon Mignolet, while at the other end Craig Gardner's deflected free-kick failed to trouble Hugo Lloris.
Best of the game
- Man of the match: Sandro. Spurs had a few that could have scooped this award, but Sandro's energy, timing and persistence in breaking down Sunderland attacks and forming the basis of Spurs moves was exceptional.
- Goal of the game: Aaron Lennon received a slice of luck in the build-up via a huge deflection, but the way he finished past Simon Mignolet was simply stunning.
- Attempt of the match: Sandro had a first half bullet of an effort that took a deflection. Had it not done, it may have given Mignolet some trouble.
- Save of the match: Mignolet denied Tottenham a third goal with a remarkable save on the ground to deny Jermain Defoe a close-range finish.
- Moment of the match: Lennon's goal turned the game around from Spurs, and from there they looked quite comfortable containing Sunderland and looked comfortable in seeing out the match.
- Talking point: Spurs see out 2012 in style, with six wins from eight, and look extremely strong heading into the new year. Can they challenge Chelsea for a top-three spot this year?
There was plenty attacking intent from both sides and Adam Johnson's dangerous cutback was cleared by Michael Dawson before Mignolet almost made a mess of a low shot from Sandro.
Spurs twice went close within a few minutes as Adebayor saw his shot blocked by Mignolet after racing clear and Gareth Bale then nodded narrowly wide.
Adebayor endured more frustration when he somehow blazed against the bar from a few yards out following Carlos Cuellar's clumsy attempt to cut out Jermain Defoe's cross.
Sunderland made the most of this reprieve in the 40th minute as Tottenham's failure to clear Sebastian Larsson's free-kick allowed O'Shea to stab the ball home.
But the happy hosts were soon deflated in the second period when Cuellar (48) needlessly nodded a corner into his own net after an aerial clash with team-mate Gardner.
A fine individual goal from Lennon (51) then stunned Sunderland as he left O'Shea in his wake with a lightning burst of pace and prodded the ball past the onrushing Mignolet.
Johnson tried to hit back with a low drive that was pushed away by Lloris, but the normally deadly Defoe then had a moment to forget, shooting too close to Mignolet after a fine run and cross from Bale.
The Welsh wide man was felled in the box by Gardner in the closing stages, but he was left bemused when the referee booked him for simulation instead of awarding a penalty.
Adebayor's finishing was yet again at fault soon afterwards when he burst into the box and fired at Mignolet, but Kyle Naughton was forced to make a timely interception as Sunderland searched for a late leveller.
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