Defoe: Goal was one of my best


Published: Monday 6th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Derby hero Jermain Defoe has ranked his stunning winner against Newcastle as one of the best two goals of his career.

The Sunderland hitman smashed home a missile of a left-footed volley in Sunday’s 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light to ease the Black Cats three points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone and send Wearside into ecstasy.

It was just the club’s third home league win of the season, but a fifth successive victory over the Magpies, and January signing Defoe will have good reason to remember it long after he has finally hung up his boots.

The 32-year-old said: “It’s up there, to be honest – and with my weaker foot, it’s definitely up there, top five easily easily.

“It’s definitely up there – top two, actually. The feeling, why I got emotional, that feeling was unbelievable.”

Defoe, who had gone six games without a goal for his new club, struck in stoppage time at the end of the first half after Steven Fletcher had nodded down Costel Pantilimon’s free-kick to give the home side the lead their performance so richly merited.

The striker said: “I remember a long ball, and Fletch was unbelievable because he played the number nine role up there on his own and me and Connor (Wickham) were just beside him.

“He won everything, but when he headed it, I just saw it coming down and I thought, ‘I’m just going to hit it at its lowest point and just try to hit the target, but really concentrate on the strike’.

“It just happened so quickly, but as soon as it left my foot, I knew. It’s one of those moments when you think, ‘Wow! Is this even happening?’. The stadium just erupted and I got emotional, it was crazy.

“The feeling, it’s hard to even find words to describe that sort of feeling. It’s special.

“Even from when I was young and you do finishing, I have always practised on my left foot because in games, sometimes you get chances and sometimes it comes on your left foot, so I have always practised over the years from when I was very young so I feel comfortable that when a chance comes, I can not even think about it, I can just hit it like I did.

“But to score a goal like that in a game like this, it’s a dream come true.”

Sunderland might have increased their lead as the game opened up with the visitors launching a desperate late attempt to salvage a point, but in the end, a single goal was enough to leave Defoe marvelling at his first experience of the Wear-Tyne rivalry.

He said: “The lads said, ‘Just wait’, but wow! Even in the warm-up, the noise, and coming down the tunnel, I had goosebumps.

“But even travelling to the stadium and seeing all the fans in the streets, seeing all the kids with their shirts on, it was just crazy.”

The victory ended a seven-game wait for a three-point haul, and it could hardly have been better timed after new head coach Dick Advocaat took over the reins and left his players in no doubt about the fact they faced nine cup finals.

That process will continue next weekend when Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace head for the Stadium of Light – Pardew, of course, was Newcastle boss for the first four of those five defeats – and Defoe is hoping he and his team-mates can use their derby success as a springboard.

He said: “You win a game like this and the lads have got to enjoy it. Everyone will enjoy it, the fans.

“But at the end of the day, the season hasn’t finished and we have massive games coming up. It’s important that we just concentrate on the next game, be professional and win that.”

Published: Monday 6th April 2015 by The News Editor

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