mccann celeb v arsenal

Game of the Day: Arsenal 2 SAFC 2

by Ashley Houghton

Phillips and McCann cap comeback.

Arsenal 2 Sunderland 2

30 December 2000

The Black Cats came from two goals down to earn a point against Arsenal at Highbury in December of the Millennium year.

Patrick Vieira and Lee Dixon scored for the hosts before a Kevin Phillips penalty and a Gavin McCann wonder strike secured a point for Peter Reid’s side.

Sunderland’s sensational comeback put a huge dent in the Gunners’ title bid as Manchester United went on to win the 2000-01 Premiership title.

It wasn’t exactly an ideal start for the visitors as Vieira headed Robert Pires’ corner home on five minutes despite Michael Gray’s best efforts in preventing the ball going over the line.

Thomas Sorensen made a string of fine saves to prevent the hosts from doubling their advantage, first from Thierry Henry and then Nwankwo Kanu.

However, Arsenal doubled their lead five minutes before half time; Henry’s wonderful cross was missed by Freddie Ljungberg but fell to Dixon who curled a right-footed effort into the bottom corner of Sorensen’s goal.

The Black Cats reacted well after the restart and were handed, quite literally, a way back into the game as Vieira was adjudged to have handled Niall Quinn’s shot inside the area leaving Phillips to fire home the spot kick.

Sunderland continued to press and after some fine saves from Alex Manninger, looked to have rued their first-half display only for McCann to take a chance and swing a first-time right-footer into the far top corner when the ball broke loose to him out on the left touchline.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Craddock, Gray, Varga, Hutchinson, Schwarz, McCann, Rae, Phillips, Quinn (Dichio, 56).

Subs not used: Macho, Kilbane, Arca, Williams.