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1 January 2012
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 40625
Thoughts from Rob Stewart at the Stadium of Light: "If Sir Alex Ferguson was hoping for a late 70th birthday present then he could hardly have asked for one much better than this because Manchester City failed to take advantage of the champions slip as they slumped to a dramatic defeat on Wearside thanks to a late goal from Ji Dong-won."
FULL TIME! It ends 1-0 to Sunderland with that dramatic winner coming from the last kick of the game. Mancini will feel aggrieved as Ji looked to be in an offside position when he received the return ball but that will not worry the Black Cats' fans in the slightest.
90' + 3'
Assist Stéphane Sessegnon
90' + 3'
Goal Dong-Won Ji
90' + 3'
With City looking for the winner, Sunderland managed to hit them on the counter-attack with the final action of the match. Ji exchanged a one-two with Sessegnon and then rounded Hart superbly before finishing into the empty net! 1-0.
90' + 3'
GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!! Sunderland have scored!
90' + 2'
Richards flashes a ball across the box, but finds no-one is a blue shirt. Sunderland get the ball clear.
The ball then falls to Silva again who tries a low shot but it dribbles harmlessly into Mignolet's arms. Three added minutes have been signaled.
How have City not gone in-front? Silva finds a bit of space on the edge of the 'D' and hits a shot which is parried by the Sunderland keeper, Richards connects with the re-bound and sends a diving header into the ground which bounces up onto the crossbar.
Barry hits a hopeful shot from outside the area but it fails to get through the cluster of bodies. Meanwhile Cattermole is down receiving treatment.
Dong-Won Ji receives the ball on the edge of the box in a promising position for Sunderland but he hesitates and loses possession.
Ahmed El Mohamady
Silva finds a yard on the left flank and whips in a terrific ball towards Dzeko but substitute Matthew Kigallon makes a vital interception and heads it out.
Toure finds Zabaleta in a bit of space on the left hand side, his cross is met by Dzeko but once again the striker fails to get his header on target.
Sunderland really have all 11 men behind the ball now, City are able to pass the ball around the back but at the moment whenever they look to go forward the home side force an error or crowd them out.
Some neat passing from Silva and Richards for City around their opponents box, but the home side's defence hold firm once more as they win a free-kick and clear the danger.
Another ball into the Sunderland box comes to nothing as it is overhit and bobbles out for a goal-kick, much to the anger of Mancini who is becoming agitated on the sideline.
Zabaleta is denied by a brave last ditch challenge from Gardner as he slides in and concedes a corner. City are beginning to look dominant though.
City have a free-kick in a good position on the left, deep in Sunderland's half. Silva delivers the ball and Dzeko meets it but glances his header wide.
Yellow Card Sebastian Larsson
Dzeko has another go from range, the shot gets a deflection on the way through but Mignolet manages to adjust and save with ease.
Sessegnon has a golden opportunity to put the home side in front. Bendtner won the flick on from a throw-in, as the ball fell to the forward he beat Vincent Kompany, then with just Hart to beat his shot with the outside of the boot went wide of the target.
Sunderland are awarded a free-kick in a promising position, however Larsson's effort hits the City wall.
A great chance for City after a contentious decision from the referee. It looked as if Sessegnon was fouled but Kevin Friend waved play on, then substitutes David Silva and Sergio Aguero combined with Dzeko, with Aguero's final shot being saved by Mignolet.
The visitors win another corner, Johnson takes it short and after some exchanging of passes finds Dzeko whose snap shot rises over the bar.
Both sides have corners in quick succession, firstly Larsson delivers for the hosts and Hart punches clear. Then, City win one on the counter but it is eventually cleared after the initial flick on.
Toure tries a very ambitious volley from at least 20-yards out, which fails to trouble the Sunderland keeper.
A decent start to the second period for the home side as Sessegnon continues to look bright. Cattermole nearly finds Bendtner in the box, but wins a corner anyway.
Nigel De Jong
An attacking change from Mancini with Sergio Aguero coming on as City look to push on and win this game in the second half.
Rob Stewart at the Stadium of Light: "Former England manager Steve McClaren is here alongside me in the Press box with Radio 5 Live's Ian Dennis and he's been getting a very friendly reception from autograph hunters and from the local journalists who worked with him during his Middlesbrough glory days. He's an incisive pundit and he looks happy but I'm sure he would be happier on the touchline pitting his wits against Mancini and O'Neill."
Sunderland get us back underway.
HALF TIME. Still 0-0 here at the Stadium of Light as both sides are finding it hard to create chances. Sunderland have at times been pinned back in their own half, with the visitors having the better share of possession in this scrappy but decent game.
As we approach half-time both sides are still failing to get the ball down and create much, but after some loose passes the ball falls to Gardner who attempts a long-range drive which isn't too far away.
Sunderland have a free-kick in a similar position which Sebastian Larsson dispatches dangerously, but Hart gets a convincing punch on the ball.
City waste a free-kick in a good position as Nasri choses to go short to Kolarov but the Sunderland defence block off the long-shot and force the visitors backwards.
Great skill from Johnson as he skips away from Gardner on the left touchline, however his cross was delivered too close to the keeper for a teammate to get on the end of.
City win another corner, from which Mignolet beats the ball away to the edge of the box where it falls to Dzeko. The forward tries a powerful shot that clips the bar and goes over!
Nasri then fires a vicious low diagonal shot towards goal, but Gardner gets it clear. It was one of those which may not have been on target but could have gone in with a touch from anyone.
City are looking slightly more threatening now, as Pablo Zabaleta picks out Dzeko whose shot is deflected out for a corner. Simon Mignolet flaps at the delivery but gets it away. He then makes a great save from Dzeko as Johnson's low ball falls for the striker, but the keeper makes himself big and blocks the shot.
Sessegnon continues his lively start with a volley on the turn after receiving the ball from a Gardner throw-in, however the attacker's effort was poor this time.
An unwanted change for O'Neill there as Brown is forced off with a groin problem.
Sessegnon has looked bright for the Black Cats so far. He had a shot blocked after a promising run a minute ago and then as Craig Gardner delivered a cross he attempted a bicycle kick but failed to make contact.
Good one touch football from the visitors as Samir Nasri links up with Dzeko and Toure, but the Frenchman can't find a good enough final ball as the danger is cleared.
City are staring to build a built of possession by knocking the ball around the back. Sunderland are leaving Bendtner heavily outnumbered up-front as he begins to look increasingly isolated.
Still just that one clear chance from Bendtner in this match as we approach the 20 minute mark, they may look back and rue that miss at the end of the game.
Neither side are managing to get a foothold on possession at the moment as Joleon Lescott gives the ball away in his own half, only to thank a good tackle from Gareth Barry on Stephane Sessegnon.
It's classic Johnson as he cuts in from the right flank and curls a left-footed effort towards goal, but the shot goes just over.
Toure takes on Wes Brown, who manages to put the ball out for a corner, but City fail to create anything clear from it.
The home side have found themselves a little pinned back into their own half so far, however they are finding some space on the counter as James McClean breaks well before being tackled.
Yellow Card Nigel De Jong
Rob Stewart at the Stadium of Light: "The notion that this is a strange weekend was underlined when Lee Cattermole was more sinned against than sinning and Nigel de Jong was booked before had touched the ball for tripping up the Sunderland skipper. Surely it's only a matter of time before Cattermole follows him into the book."
Good work from Adam Johnson as he cuts in from the right and wins a corner, but City fail to make it count.
A neat move from Mancini's men sees Aleksandar Kolarov whip in a dangerous ball, but Edin Dzeko is caught offside.
A great early chance for the hosts through Nicklas Bendtner. Sunderland cleared a City corner, after a good run from Yaya Toure, then hit the visitors on the break with Joe Hart forced into making a good one-on-one stop from the Danish forward.
Manchester City get the match underway.
Sunderland fans are gutted that David Silva won’t be starting. Retired fireman John Atkinson, of Pennywell, said: “I was really looking forward to seeing him play because he’s the best player in the Premier League. Maybe this means they are treating us likely.”
The travelling City fans are bullish about their team’s prospects of taking advantage of United’s slip-up against Blackburn. “This is the sort of place where the title can be won or lost and I feel we will beat this lot,” said student Thomas Bradshaw, who hails from Stalybridge. “In the past City teams would have lost here but this is a different City.” “My only worry is that Man United might be trying to lure us into a false sense of security,” added Charlotte Walker, a Mancunian exile now living in Newcastle. “if we keep our heads we will be fine. It’s just a shame Mario is not playing because he always does something special and I was really looking forward to seeing him in action.”
Rob Stewart at the Stadium of Light has been gathering both sets of fans' views on the tie: "Everyone, including Sunderland fans, seem to think that Manchester City will extend their lead at the top of the Premier League by 5 o’clock. "Sunderland are looking badly depleted by injuries that even their own most loyal fans think the Black Cats are there for the taking." “Even if we had a full squad we would struggle against City so the most important thing here is to avoid a hammering,” said Sunderland legend Gary Bennett. “We need to make sure that our confidence does not get too badly dented ahead of next week’s visit to Wigan.” Denis Stevens, a teacher from Easington, echoed those sentiments, adding: “Martin O’Neill has already made a big difference but I just think we need to get this one out of the way and then set about beating our rivals near the bottom.”
MANCHESTER CITY (4-5-1): Hart; Zabeleta, Kompany,Lescott, Kolarov; Johnson, De Jong, Yaya Toure, Nasri; Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon (g), Richards, Clichy, Savic, Milner, Silva, Aguero.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-1-1): Mignolet; Gardner Brown, O’Shea, Colback; Larsson, Cattermole, Vaughan, McClean; Sessegnon; Bendtner. Subs: Carson (g), Kilgallon, Elmohamady, Ji, Meyler, Noble, Laing.
He continues: "Apparently there is no place in the 18-man squad for Mario Balotelli as City boss Roberto Mancini tries to juggle his resources ahead of Tuesday night’s match while Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has had to re-install goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to his starting line-up due to an injury to Keiren Westwood." Starting Line-ups to follow.
Our man at the Stadium of Light Rob Stewart reports: "Greetings from the Stadium of Light where with the Carling Cup tie against Liverpool in mind that Manchester City have made six changes to the side that was last in action in a 0-0 draw against West Bromwich Albion."
Hello and happy New Year! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary of today's clash between Sunderland and Manchester City. Roberto Mancini's side will be looking to take advantage of their title challengers' disappointing results yesterday by taking all three points in this game.
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