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Stadium of de-light!

Posted on 12 February 2011  - 12:00

Niko Kranjcar scored a second-successive winner as the team came from a goal down to overcome Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Stadium of de-light!

Niko Kranjcar scored a second-successive winner as the team came from a goal down to overcome Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

An early Asamoah Gyan strike put the lads firmly on the back foot during what was a sluggish first half display but a Michael Dawson header - although it might be claimed by William Gallas - altered the course of the encounter before the break.

Kranjcar followed up on his spectacular winner against Bolton at the Lane last week with a precise volley in the 57th minute to secure maximum points.

It was a robust opening few minutes with a few hefty challenges flying and any space being quickly occupied. Jermain Defoe carved out half a chance for Jermaine Jenas that went high before the home fans were screaming for a penalty following a Vedran Corluka challenge on Nedum Onuoha.

A deflected shot from Steed Malbranque after a Jordan Henderson free-kick did not trouble Heurelho Gomes but there was nothing the goalkeeper could do on 10 minutes when Gyan left his mark on the game.

Kieran Richardson played in a hopeful low ball from the left into the feet of Gyan, who turned superbly and dispatched a powerful drive into the bottom corner to further enliven an already noisy home crowd.

Kranjcar shot wide after a neat turn in the 22nd minute, aiming for the near post, but it was Sunderland dictating proceedings to a greater degree as the half progressed.

Roman Pavlyuchenko shot just too high following a clever Kranjcar flick as a foothold in the contest was just about being established. Defoe was then denied by John Mensah after Benoit Assou-Ekotto picked him out with a sweeping low cross.

It was a raking corner from Steven Pienaar a minute before the break that led to a leveller - the debate will be who scored it?

Dawson was on the end of the corner and planted in a header that squirmed past Craig Gordon in the Sunderland goal, the keeper though having his view obstructed by Gallas running across his view of the ball at the crucial moment. The ball went through the legs of Gallas and he might just have got a touch, but Dawson's name is on the goal as it stands.

A clever passage of play involving Pavlyuchenko, Corluka and Pienaar nearly opened the gate five minutes into the second half before Dawson again had Gordon scrambling from a Pienaar cross and it took Phil Bardsley to clear off the line with Gallas attempting to force home.

A Malbranque shot then made Gomes stand firm after a mazy run from Gyan but Gordon was the next goalkeeper employed - picking the ball out of the net on 57 minutes.

Sandro's cross in the direction of Defoe was headed away by Mensah, but only as far as Kranjcar who took it full on the volley and drilled low into the bottom corner of the net for his second goal in two games and another wonderful strike.

Pienaar and then Pavlyuchenko went close as the team sought to reinforce the advantage and Sunderland tempers got a little frayed when a penalty appeal was rightly waved away. Kieran Richardson took issue with Corluka and had a yellow card waved in his direction.

Richardson struck the bar with a shot under challenge from Sandro as the team dug in an attempt to secure a sixth Premier League away win of the season.

An absolutely tireless performance from Jenas in midfield typified the hard-fought efforts and he will be a player that will be missed in Milan on Tuesday - he's suspended - after three excellent performances.

Nine points from our last three Premier League games - next stop the San Siro!

Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Gordon; Mensah, Onuoha (Zenden, 85), Bramble, Bardsley; Malbranque (Elmohamady, 76), Henderson, Muntari, Sessegnon; Richardson; Gyan. Unused: Mignolet, Angeleri, Riveros, Ferdinand, Colback.

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Pienaar (Lennon, 77), Jenas, Sandro, Kranjcar; Defoe (Palacios, 88), Pavlyucjenko. Unused: Cudicini, Bassong, Khumalo, Woodgate, Crouch.

Goals: Sunderland - Gyan 11. Spurs - Dawson 44, Kranjcar 57.

Attendance: 40,986.

Referee: Mr M Jones.