Barclay’s English Premiership
Sunday 29 August 2010, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Lescott (Adebayor 74), Kompany, K Touré, Barry, de Jong, Y Touré, A Johnson (Silva 80), Milner, Tevez (c) (Jo 90)
Unused: Given, Zabaleta, Vieira, Wright-Phillips
Booked: de Jong, Richards, Kolo Touré
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the Match: Yaya Touré
Sunderland started the game pressing the away side, who looked comfortable in possession, albeit in their own half. Kolo Touré came to his brother’s rescue, after Yaya had given the ball straight to Campbell, but the centre back stopped him in his tracks.
With 15 minutes gone, City should have been in front. On the break from a Sunderland free kick, Yaya Touré nicked the ball ahead of the covering defender and was bearing down on the box. As the Sunderland defence moved to close him down, he squared it to Tevez on the penalty spot and, with an open goal in front of him, the striker somehow put the ball over.
Four minutes later, Mignolet flapped at a right wing City corner and the ball fell to his fellow countryman Kompany at the back post. The City centre back volleyed it towards go, but it was blocked and bounced clear.
Just before the half hour, Tevez won the ball in the Sunderland half after a sloppy clearance and ran at the home defence. He cut onto his left foot and his shot was deflected wide, with Yaya Touré wanting the ball on the other side of the box.
Minutes later, a neat one-two between Yaya Touré and Tevez sent the Ivorian free in the box seconds later, but the Mignolet was off his line quickly to smother the ball before the City midfielder could get the shot away.
On 33 minutes, Jordan Henderson had a shot for the home side from 25 yards, but it was well over the bar and didn’t trouble Hart, who had been virtually a spectator during the first half.
A minute later, Lescott went in strongly in a 50-50 challenge with Turner to win a corner for the visitors. It was the Sunderland man who came off worse and he had to leave the field for treatment. Soon after, Frazier Campbell looked to have twisted his knee after a tangle with Micah Richards and the home fans weren’t happy that no cards were produced.
Yaya Touré could have given City the lead in first half stoppage time as an Adam Johnson free kick was flicked to him at the back post. Unmarked, he took a touch and tried to sidefoot it into the goal, but Mignolet was out quickly to save.
The home side started the second half the better, pressing City as they struggled to get back into their flow. Darren Bent had an early shout for a penalty waved away, before Kompany miscued a header and Hart had to be off his line quickly to punch the ball clear.
Ten minutes into the half, Richardson skewed a good chance high and wide from a free kick 20 yards from goal, before, in one of City’s isolated attacks, Yaya Touré tried to be too clever and backheeled straight to the Sunderland defence, with better options in front of him.
On 64 minutes, Welbeck hit a shot straight over the bar from 10 yards out after some good work from the home side on the attack, before Tevez won a corner for City from a deflected shot.
From that corner, City almost took the lead once again. Richards nodded the ball back across goal and Adebayor flicked it towards the net with the outside of his right foot from five yards out. It looked destined for the net but for a world class save from Mignolet.
With five minutes to go, Bardsley hit a free kick from 30 yards with power, but it was well wide and not troubling Joe Hart, who had been much busier in the second half than the first.
A minute later, Barry, who had moved to left back, put in an excellent tackle on Elmohamady to deny him the opportunity to shoot from the edge of the box, leaving the follow up shot to be blasted over from range by Welbeck.
With a minute of stoppage time remaining, City threw away what would have been a point with a silly push in the box by Richards on Bent. Bent went down and the referee awarded the penalty. The striker got up to score it himself, under Hart as he stretched to his left hand post, leaving City to rue their missed first half chances.