Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2: Gareth Bale frustrated by booking for diving

Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2: Spurs winger Gareth Bale insists referee Martin Atkinson was wrong to book him for diving

The Sport Review staff

Gareth Bale insisted he did not dive after being booked for simulation as Tottenham Hotspur’s second-half comeback sealed three points against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

André Villas-Boas’ side dominated the first half but Spurs failed to convert their numerous chances and were punished when John O’Shea finished from close range before half-time.

However, Tottenham reversed the score in a blistering opening six minutes after the interval with Carlos Cuellar heading past Simon Mignolet, before Aaron Lennon scored a superb solo effort.

The game finished on a sour note for Bale, who was booked for a dive in the penalty area after clashing with Craig Gardner, but the Spurs winger was adamant he should have been awarded a spot-kick by referee Martin Atkinson.

“It’s the same thing every time,” Bale told Sky Sports.

“That’s the third time this season where I’ve been kicked and I’ve got booked for no reason again. It’s just one of those things.

“I can’t do anything about it. The referees just have to look a bit closer. People thinking I’m diving where there’s actually contact.

“If I’m getting contact then it’s a penalty or a free-kick but I can’t do anything about that. If there’s contact I’ll hit the floor.

“People can say what they want but at the end of the day, it’s a foul. I know that.”

Lennon praised Tottenham’s character after they recovered from a setback to seal a crucial three points and push Villas-Boas’ men up into third place.

“We started well,” he added. “We went a goal down but it was against the run of play really. We showed our character and it was a strong 90 minutes for us.

“The manager told us to keeping playing as we were, we felt if we came out strongly in the second half we could win the game.”

“The way we’ve been playing, it showed [we’re confident]. It’s nice to move up to third before the others played.”

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