Pav puts Spurs back on track
Published 18/12/2011 | 17:12
Tottenham moved in to third place in the Barclays Premier League after returning to winning ways with a narrow 1-0 victory over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
Harry Redknapp's men failed to test Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood in a dull first half, but they sprung to life on the hour and took the lead through substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko's fierce drive.
Sunderland would have taken something from the game had it not been for Spurs stopper Brad Friedel, who saved well from Sebastian Larsson and Kieran Richardson while Luka Modric missed a gilt-edged chance to make it 2-0 at the other end, blazing over an open goal deep inside the second period.
Shorn of Gareth Bale, missing through injury, Spurs lacked a cutting edge and began sluggishly.
Tottenham's attack was adjusted in the 26th minute when a hamstring injury to Aaron Lennon forced the winger off and Pavlyuchenko came on in his place.
Sunderland piled the pressure on and ended the first half the stronger side.
A clever backheel from Connor Wickham gave Richardson some space on the edge of the box but his low drive was saved well by Friedel.
Pavlyuchenko wasted a glorious chance in the last minute of the first half when he volleyed wide from Scott Parker's cross while unmarked in the box.
But he made amends just after the hour mark when he collected a delicate pass from Rafael Van der Vaart and fired a powerful low shot past Westwood for his first league strike of the season.
Modric should have made it 2-0 after Westwood parried Emmanuel Adebayor`s hot but he blazed over an open goal from eight yards - a contender for miss of the season.