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Super Pav sinks Sunderland

Posted on 18 December 2011  - 12:00

Roman Pavlyuchenko put stubborn Sunderland to the sword with a fine winner on Sunday.

Roman Pavlyuchenko put stubborn Sunderland to the sword with a fine winner on Sunday.

The Russian hitman's first league goal of the season arrived just in time as the Black Cats looked to build momentum following Martin O'Neill's arrival as manager and first win against Blackburn last week.

The visitors were in the game when Pavlyuchenko struck in the 61st minute but that goal sparked our best spell of the match and we could have been out sight by the time Nicklas Bendtner sliced Sunderland's final chance wide in the 87th minute.

Harry Redknapp made two changes from last week's defeat at Stoke with Ledley King returning from injury in place of the suspended Younes Kaboul and Sandro in for the injured Gareth Bale, with Luka Modric moving to the left. Jermain Defoe also missed out through injury.

You could sense from the opening exchanges that it was going to be a tricky afternoon as Sunderland pressed us high, refused to let us play out from the back and looked a solid unit.

Bale's pace would obviously be a big miss in these circumstances and we were hit further in the 27th minute when Aaron Lennon limped off, replaced by Pavlyuchenko.

Sandro dragged our best chance wide and Sunderland hit back with Kieran Richardson and Sebastien Larsson forcing Brad Friedel into saves.

Pavlyuchenko was inches away from opening the scoring in the final minute when he beat goalkeeper Keiren Westwood to Scott Parker's cross but couldn't steer his effort on target.

Sunderland started the second half well as Friedel denied David Vaughan from distance but by about 55 minutes, we were starting to get on top.

Van der Vaart fired just wide, Emmanuel Adebayor just failed to connect with Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cross and a typical raid down the right from Kyle Walker caused havoc.

We found that extra something in this period and that ultimately led to the winner.

We pressured the ball in the central areas, Parker won possession, Modric found van der Vaart and the Dutchman played a lovely reverse pass for Pavlyuchenko to run onto and drill into the bottom corner.

Modric somehow failed to convert from close range after Westwood kept out Adebayor one-on-one and the keeper denied van der Vaart from distance and Adebayor again from close range before Pavlyuchenko whistled another 25-yarder just wide.

Defensively we looked solid but there was one score three minutes from time as Bendtner played a one-two with Stephane Sessegnon only to slice well wide from eight yards.

Four minutes added time passed without fuss and another three points were banked.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Friedel; Walker, Gallas, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Pavlyuchenko, 27), Parker, Sandro (Livermore, 81), Modric; Van der Vaart (Rose, 88); Adebayor. Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Kranjcar, Pienaar.

Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Westwood; O'Shea, Bramble, Brown, Bardsley (McClean, 68); Larsson, Colback (Gardner, 75), Vaughan, Richardson; Sessegnon, Wickham (Bendtner, 46). Subs: Carson, Cattermole, Dong-Won, Elmohamady.

Goal: Spurs - Pavlyuchenko (61).

Attendance: 36,021.

Referee: Mr M Dean.