Jermain Defoe’s goal have been a key factor in helping Sunderland avoid relegation from the Premier League yet again – here we pick out five of his most crucial strikes.
The Black Cats yet again secured their Premier League status with a game to spare when they beat Everton 3-0 at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening.
Striker Jermain Defoe’s 15 league goals played a key role in fending off relegation. Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five of the most important.
November 23, Crystal Palace (a)
Defoe claimed the Black Cats’ first away win of the campaign when he took advantage of defender Scott Dann’s misjudgement to latch on to Billy Jones’ long ball and round keeper Wayne Hennessey to score the game’s only goal.
January 13, Swansea (a)
The former Tottenham striker plundered a hat-trick at the Liberty Stadium as Sunderland beat the 10-man Swans 4-2 in controversial circumstances, and although he might have been given offside for each of his first two, there were no complaints about the third as he converted Patrick van Aanholt’s 85th-minute cross to wrap up the win.
April 16, Norwich (a)
If there was one game which set Sam Allardyce’s men on the path to safety, it was a 3-0 victory at Carrow Road in which Defoe’s 53rd-minute strike, which built upon Fabio Borini’s first-half penalty, left the Canaries with a mountain to climb and paved the way for substitute Duncan Watmore to cement the points at the death.
April 30, Stoke (a)
On a day when derby rivals Newcastle hauled themselves out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, Defoe kept the Black Cats in touch with a nerveless injury-time spot-kick, awarded after he had been tripped by defender Geoff Cameron, to claim a 1-1 draw.
May 7, Chelsea (h)
Perhaps the most important goal of Defoe’s Sunderland career to date, he struck 20 minutes from time to snatch a 3-2 victory over Chelsea as the Black Cats twice came from behind to leave themselves on the brink of survival.