Tottenham controlled much of the game at the Stadium of Light, but Adam Johnson cashed in on his solid day and a late own-goal denied Spurs a potentially deserved win.
Nacer Chadli gave Spurs a lead on the road inside two minutes, but Sunderland hit back just two minutes later.
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With the game level again, Christian Eriksen finally broke through for Spurs just after the halftime break, but it would be for naught when a regrettable own-goal squirted into the net with eight minutes to go in the game.
The game started with both teams blasting forward, and it rewarded fans immediately.
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Spurs were clearly in the ascendency early, and they went up just two minutes into the match. Emmanuel Adebayor held the ball at the top of the box before deciding to take one touch and rifle on net. Vito Mannone dove to save the solid effort, but it rebounded straight to Nacer Chadli who struck home from a tight angle.
The visitors were firing on all cylinders putting five shots on Mannone’s net in the opening eight minutes, but Sunderland hit back against the run of play on six minutes. Adam Johnson, in a brilliant bit of individual skill, weaved in and out of defenders as he cut into the box and struck the equalizer.
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As the first half began to grow, Spurs did as well, and they held Sunderland down who were content to attacking on the counter. They held lots of possession – 71% of it to be exact – but after the opening spell they had little to test Mannone’s goal.
After the break, Spurs continued in the ascendency, and it showed on the scoresheet almost immediately.
Adebayor again proved creative, as he burst through space and found Chadli on the left. The Belgian cut the ball into the box, and it didn’t find anyone in particular, but in the scrum Sunderland failed to clear, and Christian Eriksen lept onto the loose ball and tapped it into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
Sunderland continued to struggle dealing with Spurs’ storming midfield, and only managed 40 successful passes in the attacking third through 65 minutes.
Adam Johnson picked up one of those shots as he continued to be Sunderland’s most dangerous player, and it was from a long way out on 68 minutes but fizzled just wide of Hugo Lloris’s goal mouth.
Spurs had a big chance go by, as Dembele found Erik Lamela with 15 minutes to go, and the winger’s curling blast cannoned off the woodwork after it had Mannone well beaten.
Unfortunately for Spurs, the home side snatched a cheap goal to level the score with eight minutes to go. Striker Harry Kane, who had come off the bench just three minutes earlier, picked up a dubious own goal when a free kick from Jordi Gomez into the box missed intended target Will Buckley but hit Kane and dribbled into the net past a diving Lloris.
The one point for Spurs gives them seven on the year, and goal differential places them in fifth position. However, the late collapse means they miss a chance to go even with Swansea (!!) for second place. Meanwhile, Sunderland gets their third point of the year on three draws.
Sunderland: Mannone; Vergini, van Aanholt, Brown, O’Shea; Cattermole, Larsson (Giaccherini 65′), Rodwell (Gomez 80′), Johnson, Alvarez (Buckley 65′); Wickham.
Goals: Johnson 4′, Kane (og) 82′
Tottenham: Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Chiriches, Rose; Dembele, Capoue; Lamela, Eriksen (Lennon 86′), Chadli (Stambouli 70′); Adebayor (Kane 79′).
Goals: Chadli 2′, Eriksen 48′