Sunderland, who had lost their last two Premier League away matches, took the lead thanks to Defoe’s regal finish??in front of the watching Prince Albert of Monaco – his??second top flight goal since his move from MLS side Toronto FC.
But??Ki marked his return from the Asia Cup in Australia with a??diving header against his former loan club??midway through the second half to level for the home side, and, despite late pressure from the hosts, the Black Cats held out for a share of the spoils.
The Wearsiders settled well, even if Bafetimbi Gomis had the first shot of the contest from 25 yards which just flew wide of Costel Pantilimon’s goal.
Anthony Reveillere cut in between Neil Taylor and Nathan Dyer and crossed for former Swansea favourite Jordi Gomez to drive wide.
Swansea slowly got their passing game together but Jonjo Shelvey and Dyer both failed to hit the target under pressure before the Sunderland defence was opened up by the slickest attack of the half.
Taylor and Dyer were both heavily involved before Shelvey played the ball into the danger area. Modou Barrow could not collect but the ball ran free to Gomis and he was denied by a brave stop from Pantilimon, who threw himself at the feet of the Frenchman.
Swansea thought they had taken a lead four minutes before half-time when Shelvey swung in a free-kick and Ki slotted home, but it was ruled out by a flagging assistant with television replays showing that it was incredibly tight.
Swansea seemed to be still thinking about that close call when Sunderland broke moments later as Liam Bridcutt found Defoe just inside enemy territory.
Defoe was allowed to advance and he slipped outside Federico Fernandez and unleashed a 20-yard shot past the helpless Lukasz Fabianski – his second goal in as many league games after being on the scoresheet against Burnley.
It was poor defending from Swansea’s perspective but further evidence that former England striker Defoe still possesses the touch of a master marksman after his MLS sojourn in Toronto.
Sunderland claimed a penalty at the start of the second half when Ricky Alavarez tumbled over Ashley Williams’ outstretched leg but referee Phil Dowd was not interested, and Fernandez wasted a decent chance for Swansea when he lashed over a bouncing ball in a crowded penalty area.
Swansea were probing and starting to build up a head of steam but Williams had to react smartly to stop Danny Graham – starting his first game for Sunderland since May 2013 – profiting from Gomez’s cross to the near post and that intervention proved crucial after 66 minutes.
Kyle Naughton sent in a superb cross from the right and Ki ensured he would not be denied a second time with a firm diving header, with the Sunderland defence failing to mark.
Shelvey went close with a 25-yard free-kick and Pantilimon pushed away substitute Nelson Oliveira’s late effort but but Sunderland held firm to collect a point they probably deserved.
The Swans stay in the top 10 as they face a trip to West Brom on Wednesday, while the Black Cats remain in 14th, four points above the drop zone, although they can look forward to a home game against beleaguered QPR in midweek.