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10 Nov 2010

Asamoah Gyan cancelled out Rafael van der Vaart's opener as Sunderland denied Tottenham victory at White Hart Lane.

Spurs struggled to break through in a low-key opening half, Tom Huddlestone hitting the woodwork from 25 yards.

They went ahead when Gareth Bale crossed from the left and after Peter Crouch headed back across goal, Van der Vaart controlled and slammed in.

Sunderland levelled when Gyan took advantage of a mistake to fire home and they held on comfortably for a point.

It was just desserts for Black Cats boss Steve Bruce's visitors for a hugely impressive rearguard performance and their ambition improved as the game went on to such an extent they looked the likelier side to win it in the closing stages.

After two defeats in a row in the Premier League either side of their stunning win over Inter Milan in the Champions League, Spurs were desperate for the three points to get their domestic campaign back on track.

The return of Van der Vaart from injury was a timely boost, but the Dutchman and his team-mates found Sunderland in no mood to give them an easy ride.

The visitors made six changes after their 2-0 triumph over Stoke on Saturday and the recall of keeper Craig Gordon was quickly looking like an inspired move from Bruce.

Gordon, making his first appearance of the season, kept his side in it in the first half with fine saves to deny Luka Modric and Van der Vaart, while Huddlestone saw his ferocious drive from range take a deflection and hit the angle of post and bar.

Scotland international Gordon had to be at his best to dive across his line and tip over David Bentley's 25-yard left-foot screamer, while Sunderland rarely threatened, with Kieran Richardson's shot that deflected behind off Younes Kaboul their best offering.

Spurs took Roman Pavlyuchenko off at the break and sent on Crouch and they increased the tempo as Sunderland found themselves under the cosh.

Van der Vaart headed an Alan Hutton cross wide when he should have done better, before Bentley was booked for diving under a challenge from Bolo Zenden inside the area, a desperately harsh decision against the Spurs winger.

After Gordon made a fine one-handed save to tip away another Van der Vaart header, the home side got their noses in front when Bale floated over a cross and after Crouch's neat header back into the six-yard box, Van der Vaart - with his back to goal - took a touch and rifled in from close range.

The sighs of relief were audible all around the ground.

But those sighs soon turned to groans as the Black Cats capitalised on some woeful defending to hit back three minutes later.

Danny Welbeck cut in from the left and pushed a tame-looking ball forward, but Kaboul and William Gallas inexplicably let the ball roll past them and there was arch-predator Gyan to slam into the bottom corner for his fifth goal for the club.

Bruce's visitors provided the greater threat as the clock ticked down, but in the end both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils as they remain side by side in the Premier League table.

The north Londoners have now taken only two points from their last four league games.


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