Sunderland 0 Tottenham 1: Tottenham Hotspur finally won their first match of the Premier League season at the fifth attempt, but Harry Kane is still waiting for his first goal of the campaign.
Kane scored twice for the national team last week, but rarely threatened to end his Tottenham drought until the closing stages, when his well-struck effort was saved by Costel Pantilimon.
By then, Mauricio Pochettino’s team had sealed victory with a well-taken goal, in the 82nd minute, from Ryan Mason, that was out of keeping with the feeble finishing of both teams.
The Tottenham manager said: “It was a great goal and showed how we want to play. It’s fantastic when you score a winner like that.”
Kane had scored when the teams drew 2-2 at the Stadium of Light exactly a year earlier, but it was in his own goal. Only six players started both games — just two of them from Sunderland, although former Tottenham player Younes Kaboul is now in their defence — and, despite the scoreline, there was evidence here that the home side have benefited most from the many changes in their line-ups.
With Jermain Defoe used in his favoured striking role, new signing, Fabio Borini, adding pace down the left and Ola Toivonen a powerful presence in midfield, they had the edge for more than an hour.
Defoe had Sunderland’s best opportunity of the match when a superb pass from Jeremain Lens split the Tottenham defence in the 26th minute. Defoe accelerated clear, but, despite having scored 143 goals during two spells at Spurs, failed to display similar finishing, as he hit the post.
Tottenham’s impact in the final third was minimal, until Kyle Walker set up Son Heung-Min, who failed to get a shot away before Jordi Gomez robbed him. Adjusting to the Premier League pace won’t be easy for Son, who was making his debut after moving from Bayer Leverkusen. His biggest embarrassment was sidefooting a corner straight out of play.
Pantilimon 6; Jones 6, O’Shea 6, Kaboul 6, Van Aanholt 6; Gomez 6 (Cattermole 74,5), M’Vila 7; Lens 6, Toivonen 7 (Rodwell 81,6), Borini 5 (Watmore 74,5); Defoe 7.
Lloris 6; Walker 5, Alderweireld 6, Vertonghen 6, Davies 6; Dier 8, Mason 7 (Carroll 85,5); Chadli 6, Alli 5 (Lamela 67,5), Son 4 (Townsend 62,6); Kane 6.
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