Tottenham’s dominance counts for nothing as they lose the lead twice at Sunderland
17:04 13 September 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A dominant Tottenham side threw away the lead twice as they were held to a 2-2 draw away at Sunderland.
Nacer Chadli got the breakthrough in the second minute but Adam Johnson immediately equalised in a frenetic start.
And, although Spurs were quickly out of the traps again after half-time, with Christian Eriksen netting within three minutes of the interval, an 82nd-minute own goal from Lilywhites substitute Harry Kane levelled the scores again.
Tottenham had 63 per cent of the possession and 15 shots compared to Sunderland’s six – while hitting the woodwork twice through Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela – but they were ultimately forced to settle for a single point.
There were two changes to the Spurs side that had been beaten 3-0 at home by Liverpool in their previous outing.
Jan Vertonghen was absent through injury so Vlad Chiriches deputised, and Dembele replaced Nabil Bentaleb, who was the last player to return from the international break, on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, Spurs are expected to name their new club captain on Monday – and Younes Kaboul wore the armband for the fourth game in a row in all competitions.
Unlike in previous games, Lamela was stationed on the right flank, with Eriksen in a central role, and that switch quickly paid off.
Moments after kick-off, Eriksen played Danny Rose in, and the left-back – who spent a season on loan with Sunderland in 2012-13 – forced a save from Vito Mannone.
Then, before the Black Cats could gather themselves, Lamela cut inside from the right and found Emmanuel Adebayor, whose 20-yard shot was palmed away – but Chadli pounced on the rebound.
The Lilywhites had an early lead but they immediately lost it as the Black Cats levelled with their first attack in the fourth minute.
Johnson attacked the box from the left and beat both Eric Dier and Etienne Capoue far too easily before seeing a deflected low shot squirm past the diving Hugo Lloris and Rose on the goalline.
The chances kept coming and Eriksen chipped the ball in to Adebayor, who held off John O’Shea and volleyed straight at Mannone at point-blank range.
The ensuing corner fell to Kaboul at the back post but his shot was blocked by Connor Wickham.
The game gradually began to settle down, with Spurs dominating and looking the more likely to add to their early opener.
Rose went down in the box after a barge from Seb Larsson, having appeared to attempt to stay on his feet, but referee Craig Pawson waved away Spurs’ appeals.
Tottenham were largely penning Sunderland into their final third, let alone their own half, but they were unable to break through.
Dembele was hugely unlucky to see his swerving 25-yard strike crash back off the post, while Lamela appealed for handball when his chipped through ball was blocked in the penalty area – but nothing was given.
The Lilywhites came out for the second half determined to make their dominance count, and they started the second period as they had started the first – with a quick goal.
Adebayor freed Chadli on the left and, although his low cross was blocked, it ricocheted off the unfortunate Wes Brown for Eriksen, who forced the ball home at close range.
Dier went down in the box appealing for a penalty after a sliding challenge from Lee Cattermole – who appeared to get the ball – as Spurs sought to kill the game off.
However, Johnson nearly equalised for the second time out of nothing, sending a fierce 30-yard effort whistling just past the right post.
Mauricio Pochettino made his first change, introducing Benjiman Stambouli for his debut, with the Frenchman joining Capoue in central midfield, while Dembele moved forward into a central attacking role.
Tottenham kept attacking and, when Lamela tried to find Adebayor with a through ball, Mannone rushed out to block - but the ball cannoned back off O’Shea towards the open net. Luckily for the Sunderland defender it didn’t have the pace to cost him an own goal.
Soon after, Dembele found Lamela, who worked some space and curled the ball over and around Mannone, only to see his effort hit the bar.
That misfortune came back to haunt Spurs, because Sunderland equalised eight minutes from the end.
Kane had only just replaced Adebayor when a low free-kick bounced across the box and hit the 21-year-old, bouncing into the bottom corner past the helpless Lloris.
It nearly got worse for Spurs late on as a low cross fell to Sunderland substitute Will Buckley 10 yards out, but he shot over the bar.
Tottenham: Lloris, Dier, Kaboul, Chiriches, Rose, Capoue, Dembele, Eriksen (Lennon 86), Lamela, Chadli (Stambouli 70), Adebayor (Kane 79)
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs