Kranjcar swoops after Gordon gaffe revives Spurs

Sunderland 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Fourth place in the table; only the sixth club to pass 1,000 Premier League points; a first victory on Wearside for the best side of a decade and 20 points gathered from losing positions so far this season. All notable achievements for a Tottenham side that has tasted League defeat just once in the last 15 games.

Far more satisfying than any of those particular milestones was the message it no doubt sent out to Milan ahead of the clubs' meeting in the Champions' League this week.

For almost half this topsy-turvy contest, the Italians, who swatted Parma aside 4-0 last night, would no doubt have lost little sleep at the imminent visit by Harry Redknapp's side, who arrive at the San Siro on Tuesday for the first instalment of the battle for a place in the last eight.

Only when Michael Dawson's tame header from a Niko Kranjcar corner found its way through the grasp of goalkeeper Craig Gordon for a soft leveller a minute before the interval did the visitors come to life, after which they were an entirely different proposition as they inflicted a third consecutive League defeat on the hosts for the first time under Steve Bruce. Kranjcar sealed the comeback 12 minutes into the second half, pouncing on a week clearing header from John Mensah to volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the area to ensure Spurs travel to Lombardy on the back of three consecutive wins.

They will do so without the injured Gareth Bale, absent again here with a back problem. "He's got that ability to terrorise defences and, that would be in their minds after what he did to Inter Milan in the group stages," Redknapp said. He added: "Everybody in Italy was asking me when I was out there, 'Is Bale going to be fit'. He'd scare them to death. But he's not going to be fit for Tuesday." The midfielder's loss is offset by the return of Rafael van der Vaart from a calf injury.

Tottenham's latest comeback denied Sunderland a chance to regain sixth place. Redknapp added: "We've come from behind so many times this season, and we've shown great character again. I went last week and watched Milan, they're a dangerous side and the front three have all got goals in them. It'll be a big test but I think we've got a good chance."

Injuries are starting to catch up with Sunderland, as is their inability to defend set-pieces. "The frustration is the first goal which we switched off for to give the fella a free header," manager Steve Bruce conceded, his only consolation a fortnight's break before his side are next in action.

He added: "It's a flat dressing room, but we're still on the verge of a very good finish in the League. We could have signed off with a positive result but at least we've got a chance to recharge a few batteries."

A Tottenham victory looked the least likely outcome when with just 11 minutes on the clock, Asamoah Gyan's deft touch and turn to convert Kieran Richardson's driven cross put the hosts in the ascendency.

At that juncture the visitors were a man light under self-imposed circumstances as William Gallas changed his boots for the second time in a little over quarter of an hour.

The Frenchman atoned by making a nuisance of himself to contribute to Gordon's gaffe for Dawson's pivotal equaliser and the Tottenham manager added: "I was upset about William being off the field when they scored, and I told him so at half-time.

"To be fair, he had an injection before the game but they'd bandaged his ankle too tight and he was in a lot of pain so he did a great job for us. Some of the players these days they have 40 or 50 pairs of boots to choose from. When I played you were lucky if you had two."

Attendance: 40,986

Referee: Mike Jones

Man of the match: Kranjcar

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones