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Spurs beat Sunderland 1-0 to take 3rd place

Updated: December 18, 2011, 12:34


Tottenham Hotspur's Roman Pavlyuchenko, right, celebrates his goal against Sunderland with teammates during their English Premier League soccer match at White Hart Lane, London, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

LONDON(AP) Tottenham moved ahead of Chelsea into third place in the Premier League on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

With the Blues held to a 1-1 draw at lowly Wigan on Saturday, Spurs overtook its London rival thanks to Roman Pavlyuchenko's first league goal of the season.

On the field as a first-half substitute for injured winger Aaron Lennon, the Russia striker collected a clever pass from Rafael van der Vaart in the 61st minute and scored with a low shot to the far post.

Tottenham now has 34 points and is the closest rival to title contenders Manchester United and Manchester City.

Having surrendered its 11-match unbeaten run with a 2-1 defeat at Stoke last weekend, Tottenham failed to test Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood in a dull first half.

Spurs were without injured winger Gareth Bale and lost Lennon to a hamstring problem in the 26th.

Pavlyuchenko wasted a chance in the last minute of the second half when he volleyed wide from Scott Parker's cross while unmarked in the area, but made amends soon after.

Parker slipped the ball upfield to Rafael van der Vaart for a clever reverse pass to Pavlyuchenko, who scored past the diving goalkeeper from the edge of the area.

But Sunderland, playing only its second match under new manager Martin O'Neill, could have taken at least a point had it not been for goalkeeper Brad Friedel's saves from Sebastian Larsson and Kieran Richardson.

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