Honours even at Liberty

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:24

Honours even at Liberty

Sunderland, who had lost their last two Premier League away matches, took the lead thanks to Defoe’s regal finish in front of the watching Prince Albert of Monaco – his second top-flight goal since his move from MLS side Toronto FC.
But Ki marked his return from the Asia Cup in Australia with a diving header against his former loan club midway through the second half and despite late pressure from the hosts, the Black Cats held out for a share of the spoils.
The Wearsiders settled well, even if Bafetimbi Gomis had the first shot of the contest, a 25-yarder that just flew wide of Costel Pantilimon’s goal.
Anthony Reveillere cut in between Neil Taylor and Nathan Dyer and crossed for former Swansea favourite Jordi Gomez to drive wide.
Swansea slowly got their passing game together but Jonjo Shelvey and Dyer both failed to hit the target under pressure before the Sunderland defence was opened up by the slickest attack of the half.
Taylor and Dyer were both heavily involved before Shelvey played the ball into the danger area. Modou Barrow could not collect but the ball ran free to Gomis and he was denied by a brave stop from Pantilimon, who threw himself at the feet of the Frenchman.
Swansea thought they had taken a lead four minutes before half-time when Shelvey swung in a free-kick and Ki slotted home, but it was ruled out by a flagging assistant with television replays showing that it was incredibly tight.
Swansea seemed to be still thinking about that close call when Sunderland broke moments later as Liam Bridcutt found Defoe just inside enemy territory.
Defoe was allowed to advance and after giving Federico Fernandez the slip, he unleashed a 20-yard shot past the helpless Lukasz Fabianski three minutes before the break – his second goal in as many league games.
It was poor defending from Swansea’s perspective but further evidence that former England striker Defoe – also on target against Burnley still possesses the touch of a master marksman.
The goal was another landmark for the England striker as it meant he had scored against all 20 teams presently in the Premier League.
Sunderland claimed a penalty at the start of the second half when Ricky Alavarez tumbled over Ashley Williams’ outstretched leg but referee Phil Dowd was not interested, and Fernandez wasted a decent chance for Swansea when he lashed over a bouncing ball in a crowded penalty area.
Swansea were probing but Williams had to react smartly to stop Danny Graham – starting his first game for Sunderland since May 2013 – profiting from Gomez’s cross to the near post and that intervention proved crucial.
Kyle Naughton sent in a superb cross from the right and Ki ensured he would not be denied a second time with a firm diving header on 66 minutes.
Shelvey went close with a 25-yard free-kick and Pantilimon pushed away substitute Nelson Oliveira’s late effort but but Sunderland held firm to collect a point they probably deserved.
The Swans stay in the top 10 ahead of a trip to West Brom on Wednesday, while the Black Cats remain in 14th, four points above the drop zone, although they can look forward to a home game against beleaguered QPR in midweek.
Player Ratings
Swansea: Fabianski (6) Naughton (8) Williams (7) Fernandez (7) Taylor (6) Ki (7) Cork (5) Dyer (6) Shelvey (7) Barrow (6) Gomis (7).
Subs used: Oliveira (6) Rangel (5) Montero (6).
Sunderland: Pantilimon (7) Reveillere (6) O’Shea (7) Vergini (6) van Aanholt (6) Gomez (7) Bridcutt (6) Larsson (7) Alvarez (6) Graham (6) Defoe (7).
Subs: Fletcher (6) Johnson (7).
Man of the Match: Kyle Naughton (Swansea).

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