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Cisse caps a memorable debut to sink Spurs

SoccerNews in English Premier League 23 Aug 2008

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Djibril Cisse produced a debut goal for Sunderland to earn a dramatic 2-1 Premier League victory over Tottenham on Saturday.

Cisse only joined Roy Keane’s side on a season long loan from Marseille 24 hours before the game, but the France striker wasted no time making an immediate impression with an 83rd minute winner.

The White Hart Lane contest seemed set for a draw after Tottenham’s Jermaine Jenas cancelled out Keiran Richardson’s superb opener.

But Cisse was introduced 25 minutes from time, and met a Daryl Murphy cross late on to take all three points back to Wearside.

Both outfits started the campaign with opening day defeats, so this North London encounter was vital in order to get their points tally running.

All the talk before kick-off was about the absence of Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov, after head coach Juande Ramos claimed he was not in the right frame of mind to play.

Berbatov is hoping to complete a move to Manchester United, and with him missing it was left to David Bentley to support Darren Bent in attack.

The first half was a cagey affair, with both teams struggling to find the final pass around the penalty area.

Bentley was Tottenham’s most creative player and he hit their first shot of the afternoon on 11 minutes.

The visitors were soon creating chances of their own, and after forward El-Hadji Diouf had a shot blocked by the face of Jon Woodgate and then a headed effort narrowly miss the target, Sunderland produced the best moment of the half.

On 39 minutes former Tottenham player Steed Malbranque found himself space 25 yards from goal.

The Frenchman hit a fierce drive against the post, with Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes beaten, but Woodgate managed to scramble the rebound to safety.

After the break, Tottenham started brightly, and should have taken the lead within two minutes.

Another perfectly weighted corner from Bentley landed on the head of Welsh defender Gareth Bale, but he could not keep a close range header down and the ball flew over the crossbar.

The game had certainly come to life, and on 54 minutes home stopper Gomes was called into action. Diouf sent a deep cross into the Tottenham box, and Daryl Murphy’s effort at full stretch was pushed away.

A minute later Richardson found the opener in superb fashion for the away side. After Ledley King failed to clear an Andy Reid cross, the Sunderland midfielder pounced onto a loose ball to send a cutting drive across Gomes and into the far corner of the net.

Tottenham desperately searched forward for an equaliser. Just after the hour mark Bentley sent another brilliant cross into the area. Goalkeeper Craig Gordon fumbled, but Woodgate nudged the follow-up wide of the post.

Less than two minutes later Gordon made up for his hesitation, as he stuck out a leg to turn a Bent effort into the side netting.

Sunderland introduced Cisse on 65 minutes after Richardson picked up a knock.

It seemed only a matter of time before Spurs would level as Sunderland dropped deeper and deeper – and so it proved.

On 73 minutes Croatian Luka Modric worked himself some space in the area, and after his initial shot was blocked, Jenas followed up to stroke the ball home.

The game seemed set for a draw – but then Cisse arrived right on cue with seven minutes left on the clock. Murphy sent a cross into the Spurs area, and the Sunderland substitute produced a textbook downwards header to win the game.

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