Wednesday 24 July 2013
Sunderland progressed to the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy after coming from behind to beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 in the opening match of the tournament.
Goals by Cabral, Wes Brown and David Moberg Karlsson proved a spirited response to Gylfi Sigurdsson's deflected opening first-half goal as Di Canio's charges booked their place in Saturday's final.
Spurs started well and displayed some incisive passing despite a downpour which had caused the match to be delayed by half an hour and reduced to 80 minutes, and Sigurdsson opened the scoring after 28 minutes. Kyle Walker beat both Jack Colback and Emmanuele Giaccherini on the right-hand side and, reaching the byline, picked out Sigurdsson in the box. Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone looked to be behind the Iceland international's shot but the ball deflected off Black Cats captain John O'Shea and into the back of the net.
Sunderland had some half chances prior to Spurs' opener but Di Canio's side equalised shortly afterwards when new signing Jozy Altidore poached the ball from Lilywhites' midfielder Tom Huddlestone. Despite the close attentions of three Spurs defenders, fellow new signing Cabral - playing his first game for the Black Cats after joining from FC Basel - assuredly stroked the ball in off the post for a composed finish.
Andre-Villas Boas's side enjoyed some forays forward not long after the break - the lively and industrious second-half substitute Jermain Defoe played a prominent role in those early skirmishes - but their momentum was disrupted shortly after, when defender Jan Vertonghen came off injured after landing awkwardly and was replaced by Zeki Fryers.
Jozy Altidore enjoyed the best opportunity early on in the second half, missing a chance when unmarked on the six-yard line. The ball arrived into the box over his shoulder and the United States international could not make a connection.
Altidore's replacement Connor Wickham looked certain to score with his first touch - a glancing header destined for the top corner - but his attempt was brilliantly saved by Brad Friedel.
The American's goal was breached again when Sunderland took the lead for the first time on 64 minutes. The highly influential Sessegnon won a corner and new signing Moberg Karlsson took the set-piece, which found defender Wes Brown at the back post who directed the ball into the bottom corner.
Sunderland continued to press on - driven by the dynamic force of Sessegnon - and Moberg Karlsson concluded the contest by running onto Sessegnon's through ball in the dying moments. Beating the offside trap and with time and space, the Swede rolled the ball under Friedel and into the far corner to guarantee his side's progress to Saturday's showpiece against either Manchester City or South China.