WEDNESDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER, 2001
FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SUNDERLAND 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)
Referee:- Paul Durkin
Sunderland (4-4-2):- Macho; Haas, Craddock, McCartney (sub Williams, 56), Gray (Capt); Arca, McCann, Schwarz , Kilbane (sub Laslandes, 77); Quinn, Phillips
Subs not used:- Kennedy (GK); Thirlwell, Bellion
Booked:- Schwarz (Foul)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Sullivan; Taricco, Perry, King, Ziege; Poyet, Freund, Anderton (sub Leonhardsen, 82), Davies; Sheringham (Capt), Ferdinand (sub Rebrov, 68)
Subs not used:- Keller; Thelwell, Etherington
Booked:- Ziege, Perry (both fouls).
Sunderland has been a happy hunting ground for Spurs in recent years, and Glenn Hoddle repeated his only other away league win so far in his reign by once again beating the Black Cats by the odd goal. Spurs dominated the play for the first hour, and although they did have a two goal lead by that time, they should have had the match wrapped up by half time, as several chances went astray. Having kept the Sunderland crowd quiet for so long, the atmosphere became tense as Phillips snatched a goal back with 12 minutes of ordinary time to play. The Spurs defence held out against the onslaught and secured a deserved three points.
Possibly due to the limited resources at his disposal, but maybe to surprise the opposition (it certainly surprised me!), Glenn played a 4-4-2 from the start, and fielded both Poyet and Davies, which was a clear intention of taking the game to the home side. The strategy worked as Spurs indeed played like a home team for so much of the time, and Sunderland offered them too much time and space to play their clever one touch moves, and to win loose balls in the middle despite the flair rather than the grit in the midfield. (Freund aside of course!)
Within a minute though, Sullivan was in action as he tipped over Arca's shot following passes by Phillips and Schwarz from the left. Spurs responded with great confidence, and a Ferdinand shot was deflected for a corner. From the follow-up, Ziege's cross was headed over from close range by Poyet. Ferdinand both excited and frustrated the fans, as he won a lot of ball, played his part in several build-ups, but was profligate with some excellent chances. He went on an exciting run from the half way line, but his shot from the edge of the area was easily saved by stand-in goalkeeper Jurgen Macho.
Spurs had to survive another scare, as Perry nudged Quinn on the edge of the area, and Phillips had two shots charged down and steered off for a corner. Anderton had a low drive saved, before Poyet nicked a midfield ball and created space and time for both Ferdinand and Sheringham, who between them needed just too long to get a decent shot in. Sheringham then had a header from another Ziege cross blocked in front of goal. The news has filtered through that Stephen Carr will be absent for at least three months with his knee injury, and on the left side, Ziege is proving a very effective attacking tool. Once again tonight, when he was pinned in his own half, a lot of the Spurs attacking ability was neutralised.
After 26 minutes, Ziege scored an incredible goal from 40 yards! Sheringham had flicked the ball to him in a routine fashion, and Macho misjudged Ziege's cross to the back post completely, as it drifted into the top corner. They all count of course, and Spurs certainly deserved this stroke of luck. Phillips almost levelled the scores with a close range shot, but Sullivan was down sharply to save. Another Anderton rocket shot from 20 yards went over the corner upright, after Freund crossed, and Sheringham's effort was blocked.
Sunderland no doubt had experienced the Peter Reid special half time chat, and Phillips had an early chance to level. Spurs should have made it two with a good passing move from Anderton, Sheringham and Ferdinand, if only Les could have fully hit that final shot, which went weakly to the keeper. The lead was increased though, when Ferdinand bravely headed on a Poyet ball to Simon Davies whose short cross from the left was headed powerfully by Teddy, and although Macho got to it, he could not prevent the ball from crossing the line.
The home crowd was not happy with Reid as he replaced his young defender with Williams, and I think they would rather have seen Laslandes enter the fray earlier than the 77th minute. Once that happened, Arca switched to the left, and Spurs were on the back foot for much of the time. If only they had been able to keep up their passing play, rather than panic and hoof it anywhere. However, I suspect that Anderton and Ferdinand were replaced due to tiredness, and the defence held out superbly, with Sullivan, King and especially Perry deserving a mention. Perry raced back to his line to clear, when a Sullivan save rebounded towards the goal. Quinn was winning too much in the air, and Phillips was trying all he could, including the overhead kick, to beat Sullivan who made a number of valuable saves.
The lead was reduced however, when Quinn headed on a Haas long throw, for Phillips to hit home with a first time shot. The crowd was desperate and screamed for everything, including one hopeful penalty appeal when the ball hit Ziege's arm from close range. Sergei Rebrov could, and should have wrapped it all up in the dying minutes, when Poyet and Sheringham fed him the ball, but Sergei hit the ball at the keeper. Rumour has it that Rebrov is getting unhappy now, and his short appearance today was not enough to put him on Hoddle's map as yet.
Spurs can now travel to Anfield on Saturday in good spirits, and of course, Christian Ziege will be more determined than most to make a lasting impression!
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
· Declan Mulcahy's Last Five Stats for this game can still be read here
· Check the current team appearances, cards and scorers in all competitions
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