Tottenham held to 0-0 draw by Sunderland

Tottenham held to 0-0 draw by Sunderland

Published Apr. 7, 2012 3:46 p.m. ET

Tottenham missed a chance to strengthen its place in the Premier League's top four on Saturday after being held to a 0-0 draw at Sunderland on Saturday.

While the point lifted Tottenham above Arsenal into third place, its north London rival will return there by avoiding defeat against Manchester City on Sunday.

Gareth Bale headed Tottenham's best chance onto the roof of the net, while Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael Van der Vaart also missed efforts for Harry Redknapp's side.

''You've seen teams get in positions where the pressure gets to them but I think we're quite a laid-back bunch and will just get on with it,'' Redknapp said.


''I don't think the players get as uptight as I do or the punters do ... it's difficult when teams don't come out so there isn't a lot of space for us to get in behind them.''

In a game of few clear-cut chances, the best for Sunderland fell to Stephane Sessegnon and Nicklas Bendtner.

''Should we have allowed them to come here and pick up the three points? I'm afraid it's not like that,'' Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill said. ''We still had chances but we were up against a top-quality team who have been vying for a Champions League place and until a couple of weeks ago had the chance to win the league itself.

''We ourselves have been frustrated by teams who have sat back.''

A goal seemed likely early on as Tottenham dominated the hosts.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto saw a fierce low drive deflected wide, then Adebayor nudged a cross goalward but it was deflected wide by Phil Bardsley.

Sunderland had little to show for its efforts until a 33rd-minute mistake by Sandro threatened to gift Sessegnon a run on goal, but the midfielder responded with a fine saving challenge.

Bendtner almost turned in a shot from Bardsley but it was well smothered by goalkeeper Brad Friedel, and moments later Craig Gardner's header was easily held by the American.

Van der Vaart struck a goal-bound effort in the last minute which was blocked by Matthew Kilgannon.

''I came in at half time and felt it was a game I would be disappointed if we didn't win,'' Redknapp said.

But Sunderland almost made a dramatic start to the second half, with James McClean finding Sessegnon in the box and the striker's low shot striking the legs of William Gallas.

Adebayor was caught narrowly offside as he attempted to scissor kick into the net, then Bale headed onto the roof of the net from a cross by Assou-Ekotto.

Sunderland fashioned a fine chance on the hour when Seb Larsson's low cross looked set to give McClean the simplest of tap-ins before Kyle Walker made a crucial interception.

Van der Vaart cut a furious figure in the Sunderland box in the 73rd minute when his shot was blocked by Michael Turner, with the Dutchman almost alone in claiming a handball.

''It was a quite a slow game, we dominated possession in both halves,'' Tottenham captain Scott Parker said. ''Sunderland set up to get men behind the ball. We were a bit surprised at how they set up. We expected them to come at us a bit more, but we will take a draw and move on.''