Sunderland┬áprogressed to the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy, where they will face eitherManchester City┬áor South China, after coming from behind to beat┬áTottenham┬á3-1 in a scrappy affair in Hong Kong.
Spurs took the lead through Gylfi Sigurdsson, whose close-range effort deflected off John O’Shea and arced into the goal, but conceded minutes later when Wearside new-boy Cabral was sent through on goal and calmly stroked the ball home.
Centre-back Wes Brown netted from a corner after the Black Cats’ profligate frontline had wasted a number of chances, before substitute David Moberg Karlsson rounded off the win on the stroke of full-time.┬áGareth Bale was absent for Tottenham after picking up a knock in training, while Paolo Di Canio named four new signings in his starting XI, including Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini.
Kick-off at the Hong Kong Stadium was delayed by half an hour due to poor weather, with parts of the pitch heavily waterlogged, and the halves were reduced to 40 minutes.┬áSunderland adapted to the conditions much quicker than their opponents, with Spurs’ attempts at playing crisp, one-touch football hampered by the heavy, cut-up turf.
Stephane Sessegnon was able to break clear when Steven Caulker misjudged a long ball, but the Benin international’s goal-bound shot was thwarted by Michael Dawson. The Spurs skipper was forced to make another flying block to deny Cabral’s long-range attempt soon after.
Tottenham were controlling possession, though, and managed to make that count in the 28th minute. Kyle Walker burst down the flank, shrugging off Giaccherini, before sending a low cross into the box which was fired into the back of the net by┬áSigurdsson.┬áSoon after, a woeful first touch from Tom Huddlestone gifted possession to Sunderland deep in Spurs’ half, allowing┬áCabral┬áto race through on goal and coolly slot the ball beyond the reach of Heurelho Gomes and into the bottom corner.
Sunderland, unchanged in the second half, should have taken the lead moments after the restart, but Altidore scuffed a volley from inside the six-yard box.
There was bad news for Tottenham as second-half substitute Jan Vertonghen was stretchered off the pitch with a serious injury. Rising to contest a header with Sessegnon, the Belgian’s ankle buckled beneath him on landing.┬áAltidore fired narrowly wide after play resumed, wriggling between a sea of white shirts, before swift counterattacking interplay between Jermain Defoe and Clint Dempsey released Emmanuel Adebayor, whose curling, scooped effort was palmed away by Vito Mannone.
The ex-Arsenal shot-stopper was almost immediately forced into action again, pawing away a powerful Defoe effort after Danny Rose, on loan at the Stadium of Light last year, had whipped in a dangerous cross.┬áThose misses would prove costly, as┬áBrown┬áescaped Zeki Fryers to head in Moberg Karlsson’s pin-point cross at the back post, with substitute Brad Friedel left helpless.
As Tottenham pressed forward for an equaliser, they were almost stung on the break. Sessegnon raced clear of Dawson and squared the ball for Altidore, but the American was thwarted by countryman Friedel.┬áThe veteran keeper then pushed away a stinging drive from El-Hadji Ba, before clawing out a header from Connor Wickham that looked as though it was flying into the top corner, but could do nothing to deny┬áMoberg Karlsson┬áafter the Swede broke the offside trap and tucked the ball into the bottom corner.