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Rediff.com  » Sports » Late goal gives Sunderland draw with Arsenal

Late goal gives Sunderland draw with Arsenal

September 19, 2010 13:02 IST

Darren Bent scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn Sunderland a 1-1 home draw after 10-man Arsenal had scored a freak goal but also missed a penalty in a thunderous English Premier League clash on Saturday.

Arsenal had led through a bizarre early Cesc Fabregas goal, had Alex Song sent off after 55 minutes and saw Tomas Rosicky blaze a 74th minute penalty over the bar but just when it seemed they had held out for the win England striker Bent struck.

Arsenal could have gone top with a victory but instead are now a point behind leaders Chelsea, who have 12 from four matches before they host Blackpool on Sunday after third-placed Manchester United, with eight points, take on Liverpool.

Earlier some inspired substitutions gave a relieved Tottenham Hotspur a 3-1 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers as Harry Redknapp's team scored three in the last 13 minutes to move up to fourth spot with eight points from five games.

Everton could not repeat their own comeback heroics from last week as they lost at home in the league for the first time in 10 months via a superb 45th-minute strike by Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa to leave them second-last on two points.

Birmingham City's unbeaten start to the season ended as West Bromwich Albion came from 1-0 down at halftime with three goals in 10 minutes to win 3-1.

Aston Villa against Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers v Fulham and Stoke City against West Ham United all ended 1-1.

EXTRAORDINARY MATCH

Second-placed Arsenal were within seconds of displacing their London rivals at the top of the standings following an extraordinary encounter in the north-east.

After manager Arsene Wenger raised hackles all round the league this week by complaining about other teams' over-physical approach it was his side who were the aggressors against a Sunderland outfit playing most of the football.

If their approach was unusual, so was their goal, as Fabregas blocked an Anton Ferdinand clearance then watched in amazement as the ball flew 35 metres into the net over the head of bemused Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

The Spain midfielder sustained a hamstring strain in the incident and went off after 30 minutes.

Arsenal, who scored 18 goals in their previous four games, defended doggedly in the face of relentless Sunderland pressure, particularly after Song's dismissal for a second booking.

Even when Rosicky blasted a fortunate penalty over the bar after a foul on Samir Nasri it seemed they would get away with it but Sunderland threw everyone forward and Bent banged in a deserved equaliser, sending the home fans almost as wild as Wenger.

"I know it's a minimum of four minutes but nothing happened in those four minutes to justify them adding more," the furious Frenchman told ESPN.

"I believe the performance was good. We had problems starting in the first half, in the second half we played very well with 10 men and were in control of the game. Unfortunately, in the 95th minute they equalised," he added.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce said: "They got a fluke of a goal. We got our reward for a very good performance."

SMART SUBSTITUTIONS

Spurs, who made their Champions League debut with a draw away to Werder Bremen on Tuesday, looked to be suffering a European hangover as Steven Fletcher put Wolves ahead, but Redknapp's changes turned the game.

Fullback Alan Hutton went on for the second half and earned the 77th-minute penalty that Rafael Van der Vaart converted to score his first goal for the club.

Aaron Lennon joined the fray after 86 minutes and sent in the cross that led to 67th-minute substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko putting Spurs ahead three minutes from time with Hutton scrambling in a fortunate third.

"Alan had a great second half, Pav came on, hadn't touched the ball for 20 minutes, but it fell to him and he rolled it in, Aaron came on and had a fantastic little spell for us," Redknapp told the BBC.

"It's hard playing Tuesday and Saturday so you need people coming off the bench, you need strength in depth."

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