Jermain Defoe embarrassed Scott Dann as Sunderland beat Crystal Palace to claim a rare and precious Premier League win on Monday night.
England hopeful Defoe, 33, boosted his Euro 2016 chances – and his club’s hopes of avoiding relegation – by scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park.
The scrappy game’s decisive moment came after 80 minutes when Palace defender Dann attempted to block Defoe, who was chasing a long ball. The former Tottenham star’s desire was too strong, though, and he overpowered the foolish defender, before jinking around goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to finish into an empty net.
The win was Sunderland’s first away victory of the season. It saw Sam Allardyce’s men move up one place to 18th in the Premier League table.
Just one point now separates Sunderland and local rivals Newcastle United, who sit narrowly above the relegation zone.
Defoe’s goal was his fourth in the league this season. He has seven in all competitions.
Despite being the matchwinner, Defoe was frustrated for much of the game. He only touched the ball 19 times, while his goal came from one of just two shots.
His night ended badly too. He limped off with an ankle injury late on.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle, Defoe said that he was not yet aware of how serious the injury was, adding that he hoped it was not a problem with his ligaments.
Palace remain 10th after their sixth Premier League defeat of the season – their fourth at home.
Alan Pardew’s men are 10 points ahead of Sunderland and eight behind surprise leaders Leicester City.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (5), Ward (6), Dann (4), Delaney (5), Souare (5), Cabaye (7), Bolasie (6), Zaha (7), McArthur (6), Puncheon (5), Wickham (5)
Subs: Sako (6), Bamford (5), Chamakh (6)
Sunderland: Pantilimon (7), Kaboul (9*), O’Shea (7), Coates (7), B Jones (7), Van Aanholt (6), Cattermole (6), Larsson (5), M’Vila (6), Defoe (6), Fletcher (6)
Subs: Lens (7), Graham (6), Watmore (7)