Sunderland vs Tottenham match report: Tottenham pay price after Harry Kane own-goal

Sunderland 2 Tottenham 2: Pochettino left to rue missed chances as late error gifts Sunderland a point

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The Independent Football

Mauricio Pochettino had just watched his side produce the atypical Tottenham performance when he spoke in a language a football club must learn. “You need to kill the game,” he said, in English.

For Pochettino there should not have been a need to be turning to such a phrase. Yesterday his new team was excellent. Yesterday suggested a new dawn, with players like Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen fulfilling the tradition of a football club. Both were relentless in their probing. For spells Tottenham pinned back an overwhelmed opposition. They did it the right way, fluent, purposeful and deliberate.

They had revealed their intentions remarkably early. There were just 50 seconds on the clock when Danny Rose broke thorough on the left. Rose, who spent a spell on loan at Sunderland, crashed his drive to the left of Vito Mannone but the goalkeeper did well to parry.

He did the same a minute later - this time though, the Italian could not stop his side from falling behind. What was truly surprising was the time afforded to Emmanuel Adebayor on the edge of the Sunderland penalty area. Even Adebayor could not believe he had the option to change his mind with the square ball given to him by Lamela. Instead of going to his left, the forward shot for goal. From there, Mannone again parried and this time Nacer Chadli came in from the left and crashed his shot into the Sunderland goal.


Tottenham did not appear to have finished their celebrations when Sunderland equalised. Adam Johnson skipped past two defenders on the corner of the Spurs penalty area, his shot struck Younes Kaboul and had enough on it to beat Hugo Lloris.

Pochettino, his disappointment in check afterwards, repeatedly promised to analyse key areas of the game. That was one. However, it did not overly trouble the visitors’ momentum. Within five minutes Mannone had produced excellent saves to deny Chadli and then stood strong to deny Adebayor from close range. On another day it might have gone in. On another day Adebayor, who had his shirt tugged by John O’Shea, could have had a penalty. On another day felt about right for Tottenham.

Twice they would strike the woodwork. First, in the 38th minute, when Mousa Dembele cracked a shot off the far post of Mannone’s goal, and then in the 75th minute, when the skill of Lamela unlocked Sunderland and his curling shot cannoned back off Mannone’s crossbar.

Nacer Chadli continued his fine form to put Spurs ahead after just 2 minutes

In between had come what appeared the winning goal. Tottenham had begun the second half as the first. Within three minutes Chadli charged through, Patrick van Aanholt struck a clearance off Wes Brown and Eriksen scored from close range.

There didn’t appear a way back, but Spurs found one. Jordi Gomez’ free-kick in the 82nd minute evaded anything in a red and white shirt. Instead it struck Harry Kane and trickled past Lloris. Strong teams do not concede goals like that, nor do they drop two points so carelessly, something Pochettino recognised.

“Before we conceded the goal we created a lot of chances,” he said. “We controlled the game but you need to kill the game. We created the chance and we didn’t kill the game. We gave the opportunity to Sunderland to score in the last minute. I am very disappointed. We need to analyse the game. It is difficult for me to give an explanation. Sometimes you make a half chance and win. The last goal we conceded went across the goal. I am not worried. The most important thing is to create the chances. Maybe we have the opportunity to score more. We need to be  more solid.

“We deserved to win,” he added. “You need to win. We had the possibility to win but in the end it’s 2-2 and we only get one point. At the moment we are disappointed.

“My priority is to analyse the first goal, and what we did after. You need to be more smart. This is easy for Sunderland to score.”

Gus Poyet could barely conceal his relief. Sunderland have not won a League game this season, but he does not appear overly worried.

“Yes I am pleased,” admitted Poyet. “It was the hardest game we have had so far this season. They are the best team we have played by far. It was a proper point, one you had to work really hard to get.

“The more we talk about the league win we don’t yet have the more difficult it will become but we have lost one game in five. That is the other way around.”

In injury time the substitute Will Buckley skied a fine opportunity from 12 yards. Defeat would  have been harsh for everything  Tottenham did, but there was  still a significant lesson to  be learned.


Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Mannone; Vergini, O’Shea, Brown, Van Aanholt; Cattermole; Alvarez (Buckley, 65), Larsson (Giaccherini, 65), Rodwell (Gomez, 79), Johnson; Wickham.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-1-1): Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Chiriches, Rose; Lamela, Dembele, Capoue, Chadli (Stambouli, 70); Eriksen (Lennon, 86); Adebayor (Kane, 79).

Referee: Craig Pawson.

Man of the match: Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur)

Match rating: 7/10