Gyan strike frustrates Spurs

Gyan strike frustrates Spurs

Asamoah Gyan scored an unlikely equalizer as Sunderland weathered a storm to draw 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, dpa reported.

Stoke City beat Birmingham City 3-2 in the night's other game.

At White Hart Lane, Rafael van der Vaart gave Tottenham a 65th- minute lead, but Gyan levelled two minutes later.

Tottenham dominated for long spells, and Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, making his first appearance of the season after recovering from a fractured arm, made a series of fine saves, but the away side held out for their seventh draw of the season.

"I'm delighted with the way we stuck at it," said Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, who has seen his side take four points from two games since being beaten 5-1 in the Tyne-Wear derby.

"It's been a difficult few days, but we battled through."

Gordon was called into action early, making an excellent low save from Luka Modric.

Younes Kaboul flashed a free-kick just wide, and Roman Pavlyuchenko sent a long-range effort fizzing outside the same post as Tottenham began impressively.

They were restricted largely to shots from distance, but there were so many that Gordon must have felt he was under siege, and Tom Huddlestone pinged an effort against the post after 17 minutes.

Gyan offered the occasional glimmer of hope for Sunderland and held the ball up excellently on the odd occasion Sunderland did get the ball out of their half, but the away side had only one chance before the break, when Gyan and Boudewijn Zenden combined to set up Kieran Richardson, whose first-time shot was deflected wide.

The first half was a story of almost constant Spurs pressure, testimony to how well Sunderland defended that so few chances came to them inside the box.

When the ball did fall to Van der Vaart on the right side of the box, Gordon palmed his shot wide.

The keeper then finger-tipped a swerving free-kick from the Netherlands international around the post, before making an excellent one-handed save on a David Bentley screamer.

The second half began similarly, with Sunderland struggling to gain any purchase in midfield. Van der Vaart flicked a header just wide, and Bentley was booked - perhaps harshly - for diving as he tumbled over a Zenden challenge in the box.

With Danny Welbeck on for Cristian Riveros, and Sunderland rearranged into a 4-4-2 and playing more direct football, the away side at least offered something of an attacking threat.

They could not avoid the inevitable, though, and Spurs took the lead in the 65th minute. Gareth Bale sent in a deep cross from the left, Peter Crouch headed down, and Van der Vaart tucked it over the line.

But within a minute Sunderland were level. Welbeck beat two men cutting in from the left and poked the ball through to Gyan.

Kaboul and William Gallas both went for it and missed, and the Ghana forward ran on to slot past Heurelho Gomes.

Tottenham went back on the offensive but couldn't find a winner. The two sides remain level in joint sixth on 16 points.

Stoke ended a run of four successive defeats with a 3-2 victory over Birmingham City.

"Our main priority was to get the three points, and we got that in the end," Whitehead said.

"They put us under a lot of pressure and pushed us back, but it was nice to get a win in the end."

Stoke took the lead a minute before half-time, with Dean Whitehead teeing up Ricardo Fuller.

When his shot was saved, Robert Huth lashed in the rebound.

The game erupted in a crazy seven-minute spell around the 70th minute.

First a Cameron Jerome cross was turned against his own post by Danny Higginbotham. Then Ricardo Fuller crashed in a left-footed shot to make it 2-0, but within a minute Keith Fahey had pulled one back, volleying past Asmir Begovic after an error from Higginbotham.

Two minutes after that, Jerome headed in a Sebastian Larsson cross to level. But with five minutes remaining, Whitehead pounced in a goalmouth scramble to make it 3-2.

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