By ADAM TROXTELL
Jermain Defoe scored the lone goal in Sunday’s English Premier League action, and its effects could decide Sunderland’s season.
With halftime looming, the former Toronto FC striker took a headed ball from Steven Fletcher in stride to volley a shot into the upper right corner to pace Sunderland to a 1-0 win against rivals Newcastle. He seemed emotional walking into the tunnel at halftime, fully understanding the potential implications of the strike.
The Black Cats moved three points away from the relegation zone with the victory, their fifth in a row against the Northeastern rivals. Desperation turned into determination for Sunderland, who put six shots on the Newcastle goal compared to just two for the visitors.
One of those strikes from Remy Cabella came in the 78th minute, leading to a game-saving stop from Costel Pantilimon in the Sunderland goal. Dick Advocaat now joins Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet as Black Cats bosses to win their first Tyne-Wear derby match.
Elsewhere, an eight-minute hat trick and five-goal afternoon for Cristiano Ronaldo led Real Madrid to a stunning 9-1 rout of Granada. In Germany, Hertha Berlin recorded a valuable win in the race to avoid relegation in the Bundesliga.
Here is more from Sunday’s action in Europe’s top leagues:
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
For the first time since December, Tottenham failed to score.
The London side was left frustrated in a 0-0 draw against Burnley in the early Sunday match. Despite controlling the majority of possession, Spurs only put three of their 10 shots on target.
Burnley was more effective in attack, logging five shots against Hugo Lloris, including a few late strikes that could easily have handed the home side a win. The draw keeps Burnley in the relegation zone, two points behind Aston Villa and Hull.
SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISION
Real Madrid opened the scoring against Granada in the 25th minute and never looked back.
Los Blancos recorded their biggest margin of victory since 1967, picking up a 9-1 win against 19th-placed Granada to maintain pressure on Barcelona in the La Liga title race. Cristiano Ronaldo scored five of their goals, including an eight-minute hat-trick.
After Gareth Bale’s opener, things quickly turned into the Ronaldo show. James Rodriguez gathered a poor clearance before flicking the ball to the left where the Portuguese superstar drilled a shot into the far corner.
Marcelo joined in for Ronaldo’s second, sending a cross that was only deflected by Granada goalkeeper Oier Olazabal and put home on the rebound. Two minutes later, Ronaldo’s stinging drive made it three goals for him and four for Real.
Karim Benzema picked up the first of his two goals in a four-minute span, sandwiching Ronaldo’s fourth as Real laid the hurt on Granada. Robert Ibanez’s 74th-minute strike was the only relief for the relegation candidates.
Los Blancos must have used up a good chunk of the La Liga goal quota for the day, since Valencia and Villarreal ended their match in a 0-0 draw. The point takes Valencia to three points ahead of fifth-placed Sevilla in the race for UEFA Champions League spots.
FRENCH LIGUE 1
A goal from American Alejandro Bedoya for Nantes only spurred relegation-threatened Caen into action.
Caen pulled six points away from the bottom three with a 2-1 comeback win in Ligue 1 action. Thomas Lemar’s goal in the 90th minute ensured Caen took the three points away from the Stade de la Beaujoire.
Bedoya scored his second goal of the season by sneaking through the Caen back line on a long throw and finishing at the near post. A converted penalty from Emiliano Sala pulled one back for Caen with 10 minutes to go before Lemar’s winner.
Elsewhere, three goals were scored in the final nine minutes of Boredeaux’s 2-1 win against Lens. Mariano’s opener for Bordeaux was canceled out five minutes later by Pablo Chavarria, and Nicolas Maurice-Belay scored the winner in the third minute of stoppage time.
Five days after equalizing for Switzerland against the U.S. Men’s National Team, Valentin Stocker was at it again.
The striker opened the scoring as Hertha Berlin eventually eased to a 2-0 win against Paderborn. Hertha, without a loss in five games, now sits seven points clear of the relegation zone, while Paderborn is left sitting in 17th.
Stocker’s 68th-minute strike was followed up by Nico Schulz to leave Paderborn winless in six games.