Belfast Telegraph

Stalemate for Spurs

Harry Redknapp watched Tottenham clamber up to third in the Barclays Premier League table following a frustrating 0-0 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Although a point was enough to take Spurs ahead of north London rivals Arsenal, Redknapp's hunger for a win was obvious in his late introductions of Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe.

Emmanuel Adebayor, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart all came close for the visitors who started well but faded as Martin O'Neill's resolute Sunderland held firm. The best opportunities for the Black Cats fell to Stephane Sessegnon and Nicklas Bendtner.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto saw his fierce low drive deflected wide early on, then Adebayor nudged a Van der Vaart cross goalwards but it was deflected wide by Phil Bardsley.

A 33rd-minute mistake by Sandro threatened to gift Sessegnon a run on goal, but the midfielder responded with a fine saving challenge, before James McClean headed over from a Sebastian Larsson cross.

Van der Vaart struck a goal-bound effort which was blocked by Matthew Kilgallon as the two sides ended a sporadically entertaining first half on level terms.

O'Neill's men almost made a dramatic start to the second half, McClean finding Sessegnon in the box and the striker's low shot striking the legs of William Gallas.

Adebayor was caught narrowly offside as he attempted to scissor-kick home a lofted ball from Van der Vaart, then Bale headed onto the roof of the net from a cross by Assou-Ekotto.

Van der Vaart cut a furious figure in the Sunderland box in the 73rd minute when his shot was blocked by Michael Turner, with the Dutchman almost alone in claiming a handball.

Kyle Walker's foul on McClean gave Sunderland a dangerous free-kick on the left in the 85th minute, but Larsson's set-piece was powerfully headed away by Younes Kaboul.


From Belfast Telegraph