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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Sunderland 1-1 Tottenham

By Ian Hughes

Robbie Keane
Keane struck late to give Tottenham a share of the points

Robbie Keane smashed home a late equaliser to rescue a point for Tottenham against Sunderland.

The hosts took the lead after only two minutes when Kieran Richardson broke into the area and clipped home smartly.

Darren Bent blazed over after latching on to a terrible Dean Whitehead backpass, while Djibril Cisse missed his kick from close range.

Spurs piled forward as they pressed for an equaliser and they got it when Keane volleyed in on 89 minutes.

There was never likely to be much between the teams, as they started the match locked on 31 points with Spurs above their hosts only on goal difference.

But Sunderland, with four former Tottenham players in their squad, were quickest out of the blocks and caught their visitors with a sucker punch.

Late equaliser frustrates Sbragia

Richardson collected a loose ball, took one touch to break into the area and slotted the ball into the corner as Heurelho Gomes raced out of his goal.

It was the perfect start for the Black Cats but they soon found themselves on the back foot.

Spurs winger Aaron Lennon produced two good crosses in quick succession but headers from Bent and Keane did not trouble Martin Fulop.

Luka Modric's influence was beginning to tell for the visitors, but still there was no end product.

Bent's free-kick from 25 yards was easily saved by Fulop, who later did well to block at the feet of Ledley King.

In a rare foray up the other end, Sunderland almost profited when Gomes dropped the ball but Cisse failed to take advantage.

The Frenchman, who had been quiet in the opening half, almost made an immediate impact after the break when he raced clear but his shot hit the side netting.

It was another wake-up call for Spurs, who responded by pushing men forward.


And they should have equalised when Whitehead's awful backpass put Bent clean through but the striker smashed the ball high and wide.

It was a glaring miss but not the worst of the afternoon - that belonged to Cisse, who missed his kick when Andy Reid's low cross needed just a touch to make it 2-0.

The Sunderland forward was at it again minutes later when he headed wide from another cross by Reid.

Spurs reacted by bringing on Tom Huddlestone for Jermaine Jenas and, later, David Bentley replaced Wilson Palacios.

In an effort to get a grip in midfield, Sunderland brought on Daryl Murphy for Cisse.

Tottenham continued to press and Modric shot over before Keane did the same when he latched on to a long ball over the top.

Redknapp feels Spurs deserved draw

Lennon jinked his way into the area and struck a low shot that was blocked by Tal Ben Haim as Sunderland stood firm.

Sunderland had their moments on the break, and felt they should have had a penalty when Kenwyne Jones was pulled down.

And their disappointment at having their appeals waved away soon turned to despair when Spurs broke and Keane superbly volleyed in from Bent's right-wing cross.

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia:
"With 89 minutes players, we felt we had got three points. We had an attacking corner and we should have kept the ball and seen the time out.

"Credit to Tottenham, they put a lot of bodies forward. I thought we had seen that off but defensively we were poor.

"To do we what we did was criminal. We got carried away when we should have finished the game off and won 1-0."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:
"It would have been an injustice if we had been beaten today.

"We came away from home and dominated - we were in and around their box but we just could not pick the pass or get in the shot to make the breakthrough.

"In the end it took a good pass and good finish from Robbie Keane. It was important we didn't lose today."

Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Ben-Haim, Collins, McCartney, Malbranque, Whitehead, Richardson (Leadbitter 83), Reid (Edwards 82), Jones, Cisse (Murphy 73).
Subs Not Used: Gordon, Davenport, Healy, McShane.

Booked: Richardson, McCartney, Bardsley.

Goals: Richardson 3.

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka (Pavlyuchenko 83), Woodgate, King, Chimbonda, Lennon, Jenas (Huddlestone 63), Palacios (Bentley 72), Modric, Bent, Keane.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Zokora, Dawson, O'Hara.

Booked: Corluka, Woodgate.

Goals: Keane 89.

Att: 37,894

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham's Robbie Keane on 7.60 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Saturday's football photos
07 Mar 09 |  Football

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