Sbragia vents frustrations as Sunderland blow advantage

Sunderland 1 Tottenham 1

In its own way football is as frustrating as golf, it just doesn't get the credit. Wearside staged its own Open on Saturday and everyone struggled with the gusts sweeping in from the North Sea. At its end, there were expressions of annoyance and relief that told of a rough afternoon. At least no one lost.

Sunderland's manager of 14 weeks, Ricky Sbragia, was foremost in vocalising this irritation, though during the game his opposite number, Harry Redknapp, could be seen swearing on the touchline at a Gordon Ramsay rate. Management does this to grown men, but by the time they make it to the microphone usually a sense of restraint grips them. Not on Saturday. Sbragia named names. Chief culprits were his strikers Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cissé, who would surely both be on the bench next time around, if Sunderland had the squad for it.

After Sunderland had taken a third-minute lead through Kieran Richardson the home midfield caressed the ball around in a manner that suggested it could be a big day for the club. But when the ball was shuttled forward to Jones and Cissé, back it came. Relentlessly.

"God. Football, eh?" began Sbragia. "We told them [Jones and Cissé] at half-time and at the beginning of the game. We spoke about the importance of retaining the ball. The first four balls that went up, we lost possession. Three went to Djib and he gave it away. He's paid to retain the ball. That's what he's paid to do and he hasn't done it."

"Djib" was replaced on 74 minutes; Jones, the subject of a £16m bid from Tottenham in January, played like he thought that was way too much.

Then there was Spurs' equaliser. It came in the 89th minute, from a Sunderland corner. Sbragia was yelling that it be taken short, that time be wasted. The ball was hit into the box, cleared and five seconds later was stroked into the other net by Robbie Keane. "To concede from a corner-kick is absolutely abysmal," Sbragia said. "How long do we tell them? Christ, I might have to send a note out to them. They'll have to write it down on their hands – 'if we get a corner in the last minute, play it short'."

Home ire was stoked by Ledley King's clear pull on Jones at the corner, but then part of Redknapp's infuriating 89 minutes was a penalty box handball by Sunderland's Phil Bardsley.

Then there were the moments when Redknapp clearly thought that his missus would have done better than Aaron Lennon or Darren Bent.

But Keane is back. For £20m Liverpool gave him 19 appearances, an exercise in frustration. "I can't score goals if I am not on the pitch," he said after his second in four days.

"This is where he's at home, where his heart is," Redknapp added. "You have to feel like you're appreciated in life and he knows how much I wanted to bring him here. The fans have welcomed him back and he wants to repay that. A bit of love, that's what it's about."

Sbragia said: "I need a beer, a couple of beers, flipping hell."

Goals: Richardson (3) 1-0; Keane (89) 1-1.

Sunderland (4-4-2) Fulop; Bardsley, Ben-Haim, Collins, McCartney; Malbranque, Whitehead, Richardson (Leadbitter, 84) Reid (Edwards, 83); Cissé (Murphy, 74) Jones. Substitutes not used: Gordon (gk), Davenport, McShane, Healy.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2) Gomes; Corluka (Pavlyuchenko, 83) Woodgate, King, Chimbonda; Lennon, Jenas (Huddlestone, 63) Palacios (Bentley, 72) Modric; Bent, Keane. Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Dawson, O'Hara, Zokora.

Booked: Sunderland Richardson, McCartney, Bardsley; Tottenham Woodgate, Corluka.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Man of the match: Richardson.

Attendance: 37,894.

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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf