Manchester City 2 Sunderland 2

FA Premier League
Wednesday 16 April 2014, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Milner, Garcia, Fernandinho (Rodwell 87), Nasri, Aguero (Jovetic 57), Negredo (Dzeko 69)
Unused: Pantilimon, Lescott, Richards, Clichy
Goals: Fernandinho (2), Nasri (88)
Booked: Zabaleta

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Martin Demichelis

Negredo hurdles a challenge from Alonso.

Negredo hurdles a challenge from Alonso.

Manchester City’s title challenge is on the ropes following a draw with relegation threatened Sunderland. It could have been worse, with a late goal pulling the Blues level, but, in truth, a point helps neither side.

It couldn’t have started better for the hosts, who scored with their first attack of the match. A great step-over by Negredo allowed Fernandinho to run in one-on-one with the goalkeeper from Aguero’s pass. He slotted it into the near post.

But having taken the initiative, City allowed the visitors back in – who probably should have gone in level at half time on the balance of play. O’Shea headed wide from the penalty spot, while Borini blazed wide from close range and Cattermole could only find Hart from a long range effort.

City never got out of second gear – summed up by the little work for the Sunderland goalkeeper: Aguero’s strike from outside the box the best the hosts could offer before the break. Mannone parried it, but Fernandinho couldn’t convert Zabaleta’s knock-down from the rebound.

The second period brought little change to the home side’s impotent attack. Negredo headed over and Aguero couldn’t get a shot in as he tried to turn Brown. Pellegrini introduced Jovetic in an attempt to improve things, but it changed little – his long range efforts were regularly blocked.

With just over 15 minutes to play, the Blues’ casual performance was punished. A ball down the left flank was squared perfectly for Wickham to touch home, leaving Hart helpless. It had always been on the cards with City easing off the gas.

Dzeko couldn’t turn Kolarov’s low cross in at the near post, before it got worse for the home side: With seven minutes left Wickham added his second of the evening and put the visitors in front, following another cross from the left.

The Blues salvaged a point thanks to a Mannone blunder – a Nasri’s 88th minute effort slipped from his grasp and trickled into the net. The Frenchman should have won the game in stoppage time, but his left foot strike from eight yards was ballooned over.

City now need more favours from elsewhere if they’re to win the league – and it looks very unlikely.


Manchester City 3 Sunderland 1

League Cup Final
Sunday 2 March 2014, 14.00 KO

City: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Zabaleta, Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri, Silva (Garcia 77), Aguero (Navas 58), Dzeko (Negredo 88)
Unused: Hart, Clichy, Lescott, Milner
Goals: Toure (55), Nasri (56), Navas (90)
Booked: Negredo

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Samir Nasri

Toure scores a stunning equaliser.

Toure scores a stunning equaliser.

Manuel Pellegrini has won his first piece of silverware at Manchester City – at the first time of asking. The Chilean’s side came from behind to lift the League Cup, in a game of contrasting performances from the first and second half.

The Blues had the better of the opening chances, but couldn’t find the early breakthrough: Kompany’s header was deflected behind and, from the resulting corner, Aguero’s shot was blocked before it reached the goalkeeper. Mannone was called into action after eight minutes to push a low drive from the Argentine away – City appeared to have settled the better.

But it was the Black Cats who opened the scoring. A ball over the top found Borini after he had slipped away from Demichelis. Kompany came across to cover, but could only clip the ball into the Sunderland man’s chest to set him clean through on goal. His outside-of-the-right-foot shot bent around Pantilimon and neatly into the bottom corner. City were behind at Wembley again – but, this time, had 80 minutes to undo the damage.

The goal seemed to damage City’s confidence and it was Sunderland who looked more likely to add the next successful strike of the game. Borini volleyed from the edge of the box, but it was deflected over by Dzeko, before Brown’s header from a corner was wide when he should have done better.

Former City winger Johnson then wriggled inside Kolarov and drilled a ball across the face of goal. Kompany did well to clear without putting it through his own goal. A poor call from the linesman then forced the skipper into drastic action as he stopped Borini from adding his second of the game. The striker was one-on-one with Pantilimon – when he should have been flagged well offside – and the skipper slid it to get the ball behind.

Just before half time, the Blues could have been level through Nasri. He broke away from his covering defender and dropped into space, where he was found by Aguero following some neat interplay down the right flank, but the Frenchman’s effort was a comfortable take for Mannone – who’d had a quieter half than he might have expected.

It was a different City side that came out after the break. Zabaleta chipped a cross into the middle that nearly dipped in at the back post, before Silva forced Mannone into a comfortable save with a drive from the edge of the box. A free kick routine was then wasted, as a poor pass to Toure meant he couldn’t get a shot away. It was better from the Blues, but they were still trailing.

However, in the space of two second half minutes, the Blues went from being behind to having the lead. First, Toure chipped the goalkeeper with a beautiful curling effort from outside the box, leaving Mannone flapping at thin air. The Ivorian looked up and stroked it into the top corner to pull City level.

A minute later, a decisive breakaway added their second. Pantilimon took control of the ball in his box and immediately looked long for Aguero, peeling out to the left. He got it under control and laid it off to Kolarov, whose low cross towards Dzeko was deflected to the edge of the box. Arriving late was Nasri, and his outside of the foot volley left Mannone standing, as it brushed the inside of the post on its way in.

Sunderland, though, tried to respond: Pantilimon was forced to punch the ball over his own crossbar as it came into the box, before Demichelis’s clearance landed straight to Ki – but the Argentine defender made up for the error by nodding the incoming cross to safety.

The Black Cats continued to press, but couldn’t find a way through to Pantilimon’s goal. In the end, City had chances to kill the game – Kompany touched a corner just wide, before Zabaleta smashed a shot over from the edge of the box, following a strong run from the right-back position.

The Blues celebrate a League Cup win.

The Blues celebrate a League Cup win.

With a minute to play, City were let off the hook. Fletcher – in acres of space at the back post – arrived late to latch on to Ki’s knockdown, but with the chance to get a shot away with time and space, he miscontrolled and prodded the ball behind for a goal kick.

It proved costly for Sunderland, as, a minute later, Navas sealed the game. Fernandinho won the ball back for the Blues on the edge of their own box and Toure began one of his trademark runs through the middle. He slipped it right to Navas, whose placed effort beat Mannone at his near post.

The Pellegrini era begins with a victory in the League Cup and the Chilean will be hoping that’s the first of many trophies in the cabinet under his management of the club.

Sunderland 1 Manchester City 0

FA Premier League
Sunday 10 November 2013, 14.05 KO

City: Pantilimon, Richards (Zabaleta 71), Demichelis, Lescott, Kolarov, Milner, Toure (c), Garcia (Navas 45), Nasri, Aguero, Negredo (Dzeko 71)
Unused: Hart, Clichy, Boyata, Rodwell
Booked: Garcia

Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the Match: Samir Nasri

Aguero carries the ball.

Aguero carries the ball.

It was a cagey start from both sides. The even first ten minutes was broken up by Milner’s rising effort, but that was easy for Manone to catch, before Johnson tried to slide a ball through for Giaccherini. It was too long and Pantilimon was able to collect. Fletcher crept in between City’s two centre-backs, but couldn’t direct his header on target.

Larsson was lucky not to have seen a red for a high and late challenge on Garcia, following a poor touch from Toure, but the referee decided not even to show a yellow card. It didn’t look too dissimilar to either of the challenges that received reds for Sunderland last weekend.

On 21 minutes, City fell behind. Bardsley could have been pulled up for a foul on Milner as the ball broke through the left flank, but the referee played on – while the visitors didn’t. Pantilimon left his line to try and close the angle, but he had no chance as the defender curled the ball around him into the bottom corner to give the hosts the lead.

The goal kicked City into life, but they were still to test Manone by the half hour. Nasri and Kolarov both had shots from the edge of the area blocked, before Negredo tried to volley a cross through the six-yard box, but it was touched behind for a corner. A great cross from Kolarov found the head of Aguero, but he could only nod it wide.

Johnson went down inside the City box as he tried to pass Milner, but the referee waved away the former Blue’s protests and played on. It was the right call, but the visitors needed to be careful not to dive in inside the area.

Nasri breaks from the Sunderland defence.

Nasri breaks from the Sunderland defence.

Five minutes into the second half, the Blues should have been level. Aguero broke away from O’Shea and got to the by-line to cut it back to Navas in the middle. The Spaniard scuffed his shot and it hit Bardsley and he couldn’t poke the rebound past Manone, who gathered easily.

On the hour mark, the game had settled into a pattern of Sunderland defence and City attack – though the Blues were keeping possession without particularly troubling the hosts. In fact, it was them who could have scored again, as Ki wriggled free from Toure to shoot, but it was well wide. Milner responded – his effort clipped Toure and flew over.

With 67 minutes on the clock, Aguero came closest for the Blues since they’d gone behind: He spun on the edge of the area to unleash a shot at the far post. It looked to have been sneaking in until the fingertips of Manone pushed it behind to preserve the hosts’ lead.

City tried to switch it around by introducing Dzeko and Zabaleta, and immediately it almost paid off. Dzeko found space to shoot from 20 yards and Manone parried straight to Aguero – but the Argentine couldn’t adjust his body to volley into the empty net, skewing it wide.

With ten minutes left, City were piling on the pressure. A series of low crosses from Zabaleta and Navas were all cleared – just – by Sunderland legs, before a Kolarov corner was nodded just wide by Dzeko. Aguero tried to stretch to touch it in, but he just couldn’t reach. A Kolarov volley then swerved inches away from the top corner.

In the end, it was too little too late from City – and another 1-0 defeat on Wearside.

Sunderland 1 Manchester City 0

FA Premier League
Wednesday 26 December 2012, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Nastasic, Kompany (c), K Toure (Barry 87), Zabaleta, Garcia (Lescott 89), Milner, Y Toure, Silva, Aguero, Tevez (Dzeko 73)
Unused: Pantilimon, Rekik, Razak, Sinclair
Booked: Kompany, Y Toure, Nastasic

Referee: Kevin Friend
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta

Sunderland1An early Sunderland free kick came to nothing as Johnson smashed the cross into the City wall, before the visitors came very close to opening the scoring. Kompany rose ahead of the Sunderland back line and flicked his header towards goal, but it smashed off the crossbar and bounced out. Yaya Toure tried to slam the rebound into the net that Mignolet kept out with his foot. A Silva free kick then came to nothing, as he couldn’t keep it down.

As the mid-way point of the first half approached, the hosts were growing into the game, but without really testing Joe Hart. Nastasic was on hand to clear a low cross, before Gardner smashed a free kick well wide. Yet it was City who still seemed the more dangerous – Aguero worked his way into the box to find Silva, who was denied by Mignolet on a one-on-one.

At the other end, Hart responded with a great save of his own. Fletcher had the chance to volley from 25 yards out and it looked destined for the bottom corner until the fingertips of the England international forced it around the post. At the other end, Milner had the chance to shoot from the left side of the box, but his effort was well over the bar.

With ten minutes to go before half time, Adam Johnson played a short pass to Larsson, who smashed a low ball into the box. It looked like it would reach Fletcher inside the six-yard box, but Kompany was on hand to get a boot to the cross first. Tevez was then denied by a great tackle from Rose, as he tried to get a shot away inside the Sunderland area.

Two minutes before the break, Sunderland picked up a free-kick right on the edge of the City area. Komapny was furious to have been booked for the challenge, as Sessegnon ran into him, leaving the City captain with nowhere to go. Larsson’s kick hit the wall and the rebound was skewed well wide. City would have been feeling very aggrieved had it gone in.

Sunderland2The early action of the second half saw the game becoming quite stretched. Silva had a shot blocked seconds before Kompany pulled out a great tackle on Sessegnon and Kolo Toure was up well to head away a Johnson cross. Back at the other end, Yaya Toure headed over from a Silva corner, as both sides looked for the opening goal.

Sunderland then took the lead in controversial circumstances. Zabaleta was fouled by Johnson, but the referee ignored it and played on. Zabaleta was left in a heap as Johnson took the shot on from the right flank and the effort went through Joe Hart and into the net. City were fuming, the goal shouldn’t have stood, but it did.

There were some bizarre refereeing decisions not helping City in the following few minutes. First, Yaya Toure was penalised in winning possession back in the Sunderland area for a tussle with Rose, while Tevez didn’t get the free kick for a similar foul on the edge of the box. Kompany was then given a talking to for another infringement of the same nature and was on his final warning, despite having done little wrong all game.

A scramble in the Sunderland area couldn’t see City force the ball into the net, as Tevez picked out Yaya Toure. The Ivorian’s shot was blocked to Milner, whose effort was also blocked, this time to Zabaleta. The Argentine then powered an effort at goal, but that too hit a Sunderland leg and bounced to safety.

With 70 minutes played, Silva played a great ball to Aguero to slot him through on a one-on-one. His shot, though, was pushed behind by Mignolet. It was a difficult angle, but it should have been the visitors’ equaliser. Milner then hit a free kick over the bar from a good position, before a Dzeko effort from the edge of the box was straight at the Sunderland goalkeeper.

A breakaway from Sunderland with ten minutes to play could have doubled their lead. Sessegnon found space for Campbell to slide the ball into his path and he was through on goal. Hart, though, was off his line to make the block brilliantly, while the City defence cleared the remainder of the danger.

But then it was back to City pressure: Aguero found room for a shot inside the box and it looked like it would have caused Mignolet problems had it not been deflected away, before Rose felled Aguero on the right wing, but Milner’s free kick was nodded away by Fletcher. A flicked header by Aguero was then caught easily by the Sunderland keeper.

It was another defeat for City at Sunderland, but it was a dreadful refereeing decision that cost them the goal.

Manchester City 3 Sunderland 0

FA Premier League
Saturday 6 October 2012, 12.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Lescott, Kolarov, Barry, Milner, Y Toure (c), Silva (Rodwell 90), Balotelli (Aguero 57), Tevez (Clichy 86)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Nasri, Dzeko
Goals: Kolarov (5), Aguero (60), Milner (89)

Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: James Milner

It was a quick start to the game from the home side, who were on top of the visitors from kick off. Tevez headed for the box on the left flank as he beat Cuellar, but he was hacked down by the Sunderland defender and City had a free kick. Kolarov stepped up and whipped the ball into the net at the near post, with Mignolet flapping at thin air. After some nervy performances, an early goal was very welcome.

Sunderland tried to respond with a free kick of their own, but the rebound from the initial effort was fired well over the bar by Sessegnon. But it looked like City would be the side to get the next goal, as Balotelli weaved his way inside onto his right foot from the wing and fired a ferocious effort towards the net. Mignolet was worried, but it was over the bar.

Zabaleta had a shot well saved by the goalkeeper, before Tevez fired a cross-come-shot for the far post, but both Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli couldn’t stretch enough to get the vital touch to knock it in. Kolarov had a second free kick of the game flick off the wall and over for a corner – the pressure was all from the hosts.

Despite the dominance, though, the second goal just wouldn’t come. Tevez doggedly pressed the Sunderland back line and a series of corners came to nothing for the blues. Barry fired a shot from 20 yards wide of the post, following a Kolarov volley from the edge of the box that almost hit the second tier.

City almost went to sleep from kick off in the second half: Former blue Adam Johnson skipped past Kolarov and his cross needed clearing, before Richards put in a vital block to prevent Fletcher’s shot troubling Joe Hart. At the other end, Yaya Toure stepped inside the challenge in the box and found room to smash an effort at goal, but Mignolet was equal to it, turning it over the bar.

Micah Richards could have marked his return from injury with a goal, as a corner from the right flank found his head. It was blocked, but the rebound fell straight to him and he tried again, this time beating Mignolet, but it was cleared off the line. Kolarov put in a brilliant low cross that almost picked out Balotelli, but the Italian couldn’t quite stretch enough to turn the ball home.

From another corner, Richards again found Mignolet in fantastic form, as his header from Milner’s cross looked destined for the top corner, until the Belgian international got across, saved and held the effort. It was starting to feel like no matter what City did, the ball just wouldn’t go in for the second goal.

But that soon changed with the introduction of Aguero. Three minutes after joining the action, he broke into the box to get on the end of another brilliant Kolarov cross and he smashed the ball past Mignolet, doubling City’s lead.

With 70 minutes on the clock, it was all one-way traffic. Tevez broke down the right flank and tried an effort towards the back post, but it was a ball’s width the wrong side. He then found himself one-on-one with Mignolet and was forced wide by the goalkeeper. He didn’t panic, squaring the ball for Silva – with a pack of Sunderland players between him and the goal and with the goalkeeper off-limits, his only option was to chip it over the top. He did and was unlucky to see it rebound back off the crossbar.

Five minutes later, Richards tried his luck again and again from a Milner corner. It sat up nicely for him to attempt an overhead kick, but he didn’t connect with it as he would have hoped, sending it well over the bar.

But, as the game headed for the final whistle, Sunderland could have pulled a goal back. Gardner fired a shot across goal and Hart moved to make the save. But before he could, it flicked off Lescott and changed direction, leaving the goalkeeper stranded. Luckily for City, though, it bounced behind for a corner.

City sealed the game from another free kick on the stroke of 90 minutes. Kolarov was felled on the left flank and Milner came across to take it. With everybody expecting a cross, the England international smashed an effort at goal and Mignolet couldn’t keep it out, leaving City’s man of the match to have the final say.




Manchester City 3 Sunderland 3

English Premier League
Saturday 31 March 2012, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Richards (A Johnson 45), Kompany (c), K Toure, Kolarov, de Jong, Y Toure, Silva (Tevez 58), Milner (Pizarro 80), Balotelli, Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Clichy, Barry
Goals: Balotelli (pen 44, 85), Kolarov (86)
Booked: de Jong

Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: Aleksandar Kolarov

It was a slow start from the home side, who were more than matched by the visitors. Mignolet was called into action to make a block from a Kolarov free kick, before Gardner found the side netting from inside the City box. Chances were at a premium early on.

Dzeko then found Mignolet after a neat move up the pitch from the hosts, before Balotelli nodded over from a corner. But, with City beginning to look like they were getting a foothold into the game, Sunderland found the back of the net: Larsson swept the ball into the corner of Joe Hart’s goal, after good work by Sessegnon.

Mignolet spilled a cross from Kolarov, but City weren’t able to capitalise. In truth, the home side were looking disjointed and couldn’t get going like their previous home record had suggested – but they were offered a get out of jail free card, when Dzeko went down in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Balotelli stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way.

But, despite that goal, City went into half time behind. A ball from the right flank was met by Bendtner and his header left Hart with no chance, and the England international was picking the ball out of his net once again. City were causing themselves problems and needed stern words at the break.

Clearly, though, the goal before the break wasn’t the wake-up call that the hosts needed. Ten minutes into the second half, the home side had a mountain to climb as Bendtner crossed to the back post, where Larsson slid the ball over the line. City’s unbeaten run at home was hanging by a thread.

Kolarov whipped a free kick just wide of the post, before Tevez had an effort from the edge of the box that was awkward for Mignolet, but the Belgian keeper held onto the shot. Kolarov thumped another free kick wide of the post from the right flank, before Bendtner fired over from the edge of the box: City were getting shots in, but they were shots-to-nothing, at best.

Adam Johnson won a free kick for City on the right flank and it was touched short to Yaya Toure. His cross was cleared, but Balotelli picked up the rebound on the left wing. Cutting inside, he fired a shot at goal and it beat Mignolet to give the home side hope, with five minutes to play.

Immediately, City pulled the game level. Tevez squared the ball to Kolarov on the edge of the box, as the Argentine was crowded out by the penalty spot and had to retreat. The full back powered his boot through the ball and drove it through the area; it smashed past Mignolet and City were level and it never looked like coming.

Balotelli drove into the box after a neat ball from Yaya Toure sent him through and his effort was deflected behind for a corner. Kolo Toure’s effort was blocked, before his brother won another flag kick for City. Balotelli was found by de Jong, but his pulled back was just behind the support in the six yard box.

With two minutes of stoppage time to play, Yaya Toure wasted a good chance from the edge of the box, after Adam Johnson had cut inside. He skied the effort, with better options square. It summed up City’s afternoon in front of goal. It was a rescue job by City, but they now need favours from elsewhere in the title race.

Sunderland 1 Manchester City 0

English Premier League
Sunday 1 January 2012, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov (Richards 67), de Jong (Aguero 45), Barry, Y Toure, A Johnson, Nasri (Silva 55), Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Clichy, Savic, Milner
Booked: de Jong

Referee: Kevin Friend
Man of the Match: Adam Johnson

A bursting run from Yaya Toure in the opening minute bought City their first corner, but that set Sunderland on the attack early on. Sessegnon sent Bendtner through on goal from mid-way into the City half. He tried to go around Joe Hart, who was out quickly to narrow the angle, and the England keeper blocked well, with Kolarov able to complete the clearance. McClean then took an effort from the edge of the box, but Hart held on to it. A sloppy pass from Kolarov caused de Jong to have to slide in on Cattermole and he was late, earning a booking after just seven minutes.

A short corner from Adam Johnson found a quick one-two with Nasri and allowed the winger to have a shot from the corner of the box. He didn’t quite catch it properly, though, and it was just over the top of Mignolet’s bar. Yaya Toure managed to get onto a ball into the box from Johnson shortly after, but he miss-kicked when he had the chance to shoot and it wasn’t troubling Mignolet.

A City corner was only half-cleared by the Sunderland defence and Zabaleta was able to find Johnson on the right flank. He worked his way into the box and fizzed a low cross towards Dzeko. His effort was blocked by Mignolet, before Johnson found Nasri free in the box again. The Frenchman’s low drive beat the goalkeeper, but it was cleared off the line, as City looked to take the initiative on the half hour.

A bursting run from Yaya Toure found Dzeko in the box and as the Bosnian looked for the return ball, it was just poked wide by a covering Sunderland defender. The resulting corner fell to Dzeko in the middle and he lashed his volley at goal, but it skimmed the top of the bar, with everybody left standing. A cross from Johnson then caused Mignolet problems, but there was no City player to capitalise on his spill.

Sessegnon did well to hold the ball up against Lescott as the game headed towards first half stoppage time and his lay off to Gardner on the edge of the box was hit first time. It was only just high and wide, but it was enough to worry Hart, who threw himself towards the top left corner of his goal.

The first chance of the second half fell to City and Yaya Toure – an excellent low ball into the box by Kolarov was only poked away by Mignolet’s foot and the Ivorian tried a volley from the edge of the area. He didn’t catch it properly, though, and it bobbled wide. Sessegnon then had the chance to shoot, but it was blocked on its way to Hart’s goal.

A short corner from Johnson to Silva gave the winger another chance to break into the box. Instead, though, he slid the ball across the area to the unmarked Dzeko. His shot, though, was sidefooted over the bar, as Colback closed him down quickly. It was a great chance and should have been the opening goal for the visitors. Aguero, Silva and Dzeko combined to set up a shooting chance for the Argentine, but Mignolet pulled off a great save to deny him.

A silly free kick given away by Kompany on the edge of the City box gave the home side the chance to shoot. Larsson stepped up, but his effort clipped the wall and Kolarov was able to clear. Dzeko picked out Johnson on the break, but Kompany couldn’t do the same to free Aguero down the left flank.

With 63 minutes played, Sunderland should have been in front. A flick on from a throw in fell to Sessegnon and Kompany couldn’t steal the ball away. He ran through on Joe Hart, who spread himself, and the Sunderland man tried a shot with the outside of his foot. It beat the City keeper, but also beat the post and City were off the hook. A deflected Dzeko shot almost fell to Aguero via Mignolet’s gloves, but the Belgian keeper was able to recover.

Dzeko then nodded a free kick wide, before Zabaleta was freed down the left to cross. He found Silva, who, in turn, found Aguero on the edge of the box and the Argentine had to slide to get his shot away. He managed it, but he couldn’t find the target, as City cranked up the pressure once more. Johnson picked out Zabaleta at the back post, but he couldn’t find a shot before the tackle came in.

A lucky bounce almost presented Dzeko with a chance, but he needed support as he broke free from the halfway line. He got none and couldn’t force a shooting opportunity, as he was crowded out by four of the home side’s defenders. A neat move between Silva and Aguero set up Dzeko with ten minutes to play, but he couldn’t get it out of his feet and he skied it over the bar. He then had a header deflected wide, as Silva picked him out at the front post.

With two minutes to play, City could have won the game: Silva picked up the ball on the edge of the box and shot, but it was pushed away by Mignolet. It fell straight to Richards, whose diving header hit the bar and Dzeko couldn’t readjust to get a touch on the rebound. Silva then found the gloves of Mignolet from the edge of the box again, but this time he was able to hold it.

But as the clock ticked to final second of the game, Sunderland won the game. Ji broke through the back line and should have been flagged offside as he went through on a one-on-one with Hart, he took it around the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the back of the net. It was a bad call from the linesman, but City should have put one of their earlier chances away.