Bendtner cleared of vandalism near rival's stadium

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NEWCASTLE, England (AP) -- Sunderland striker Nicklas Bendtner was cleared Monday of vandalizing cars near the stadium of Premier League rival Newcastle.

The Denmark international faced five charges along with Sunderland teammate Lee Cattermole of causing criminal damage less than a kilometer from St. James' Park on Dec. 6.

While the prosecution dropped its case against Bendtner, Cattermole still faces the charges but entered not guilty pleas at Newcastle Magistrates' Court on Monday.

Bendtner, who didn't appear in court on Monday, is on loan at Sunderland from Arsenal and scored the winning goal in his team's 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the league on Saturday.

"I am glad the court has reached the right conclusion," Bendtner said in a statement released in Denmark. "Now I can really focus on what I need to do, namely football.

"Everything points in the right direction right now and I am really looking forward to continue playing for Sunderland and the Danish national team. Let us go forward together."

Cattermole was granted unconditional bail until March 26 when the case resumes.