Defoe adds his own masterpiece to Easter goals collection

By Martyn Herman

April 5 (Reuters) - Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe capped an Easter weekend of spectacular goals with a memorable volley to seal the Tyne-Wear derby and lift his side away from the relegation zone on Sunday.

Choosing Sunderland's biggest game of the season against local rivals Newcastle United to underline his shooting prowess, Defoe thundered a dipping left-foot volley past Tim Krul seconds before halftime to clinch a 1-0 victory.

Perhaps not quite as sensational as Charlie Adam's goal for Stoke City on Saturday at Chelsea from 60 metres, it was more than a match for Wayne Rooney's blockbuster against Aston Villa.

But for sheer drama it was hard to beat.

Defoe, who has scored the majority of his 127 Premier League goals for Tottenham Hotspur, appeared close to tears as he walked off at halftime with the Sunderland fans in raptures.

"It's one of my best! With my left foot as well. Even a tap-in would be massive in a game like this," Defoe told the BBC.

"As the ball was dropping I was just concentrating on the strike... during the week I've done a lot of shooting and as soon as it left my foot I knew it was in.

"It was an unbelievable feeling when it went in. I was very emotional for some reason, as everyone wanted the three points so badly."

Former England striker Defoe, signed in the January transfer window from MLS side Toronto, scored on his home debut as Sunderland beat Burnley on the last day of January.

But a run of seven matches without a win since then had left the Black Cats hovering just above the drop zone at kickoff.

His timing proved perfect, literally, to ease the relegation jitters and seal a fifth consecutive derby win for Sunderland.

"It was great, especially when you win the game!" Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat, in only his second game in charge, told the BBC. "When we arrived on the bus we got a great feeling straight away."

"We pressurised them from the start and didn't give many chances away. It was such a nice goal it has to count for two!"

Sunderland are now three points above the relegation zone with seven matches remaining but wily Dutchman Advocaat said there was still work to do to secure their top flight status.

"We have three home games to go and we have to get the points there as well," he said. "If we keep doing this we will give every opponent a very difficult time." (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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