Premier League

January 1, 2012



1 - 0

Manchester City

Premier League

15:00 +00:00, January 1, 2012

Stadium of Light, England

Referee: K Friend


    Thank you for tuning into this minute-by-minute commentary. I've been James Dall. Cheerio.


    Goodness me. Seriously, goodness me. No-one saw that coming. Sunderland were pegged back for almost the whole game, with City pressing hard for a late winner. Indeed, they hit the bar through Richards. But then an offside Ji struck at the death, the very death. Incredible stuff, really.


    FULL-TIME: Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City

  • 90'

    But it was offside. Replays confirm it should have been ruled out for offside. Sunderland care not a jot.

  • 90'

    Sunderland found themselves on the break. Sessegnon threaded through to Ji, who stayed cool to round Hart and poke into an empty net. Crazy scenes.

  • 90'


  • 90'


  • 90'

    Richards fires in a cross but it finds no-one in sky blue.

  • 90'

    One minute left.

  • 90'

    Sunderland win a throw-in. Huge cheers.

  • 90'

    Kompany lumps it forward but that type of ball is easy for Sunderland to deal with.

  • 90'

    Three minutes of added time will be played.

  • 89'

    Still the blue wave comes. Sunderland are feeling the heat.

  • 88'

    WOODWORK! Wow: Silva hits one, and hits it well. Mignolet dives and parries but only to Richards, who heads the rebound. The keeper is down but the ball hits the crossbar and is swiftly hacked away by Sunderland.

  • 87'

    Sunderland have EVERYONE behind the ball.

  • 86'

    Cattermole receives some treatment after Kompany kicked the ball out. The midfielder is back trotting around now.

  • 85'

    Cattermole is down injured. He gets back to his feet, but is hobbling.

  • 84'

    City well in charge as they probe for an avenue. But Sunderland have everyone back.

  • 83'

    Silva dinks a cheeky ball over the top, but Kligallon hacks away.

  • 82'

    Ji receives the ball about 20 yards out but he seems to panic and ultimately falls over.


  • 81'

    Ahmed Elmohamady is on for Vaughan.

  • 80'

    Argh. Dzeko wins another header, and this time it has power. However, the nod misses the top corner by a yard.

  • 79'

    Sunderland are doing well at holding City and winning the ball back. But they are losing possession far too cheaply, which is no surprise considering the lack of attacking support when they have it.

  • 78'

    Zabaleta floats in a cross, making it difficult for Dzeko to generate power on a header that bobbles off target.

  • 77'

    Bendtner is replaced by Ji.

  • 76'

    Yikes, that was a chance. A mix-up by the Black Cats on the halfway line allows Dzeko to speed at goal. Sunderland race back and do just enough to hold up the striker.

  • 75'

    Frustration for City as they pass it neatly and look to break into the box, but a foul from Richards sees the attack fizzle out.

  • 74'

    Woah! McClean speeds past two City players only to see his cross deflected out for a throw. Really exciting footwork from the youngster there.

  • 73'

    Cheers as a deep cross falls out of play. Sunderland doing their best to wind the clock down. Still plenty of time left, mind.

  • 72'

    Corner to City. They are pressing Sunderland further and further back.

  • 71'

    Huge challenge from Gardner after Zabaleta had ghosted round the back. City are upping the ante now.

  • 70'

    Dzeko buys a free-kick in the middle of the park after smart hold-up play.

  • 69'

    Richards enters the fray in place of Kolarov.

  • 67'

    Yellow for Larsson, who had a hold of Aguero's shirt.

  • 66'

    Dzeko has a snap shot, and it gets a deflection to take the sting out of it, meaning it is easy for Mignolet.

  • 65'

    I don't believe it! Sessegnon skins Kompany and is clean through. He looks to bend it round Hart with the outside of his boot, but the shot swerves wide of the far post. Bendtner is furious as he was unmarked and had an open goal.

  • 64'

    Ah! He's missed!

  • 63'

    Sunderland hardly have their backs agains the wall here. It hasn't been a vintage City display, but one has a feeling they could pinch it late on.

  • 62'

    Larsson trots up and sees his bending effort clip the side of the wall and float harmlessly away from goal.

  • 61'

    But wait! Now he awards to iffy free-kicks in succession to Sunderland. The last one is right near the box and Larsson fancies this.

  • 60'

    The referee, Kevin Friend, is receiving a barrage of abuse.

  • 59'

    What looked a clear foul on Sessegnon in the middle of the park is not given. City play on, and, before you know it, are clean through on goal. I think Aguero is the man to stab a shot, but Mignolet diverts it wide.

  • 58'


  • 57'

    The home support is not happy as they want a foul given for a challenge by Toure on Vaughan. Nothing doing from the ref.

  • 56'

    Dzeko again with a shot on goal. City smartly work a corner, and the ball is teed up on the edge of the box. But the Bosnian's shot is way too high, leading to jeers from the home fans.

  • 56'

    The quiet Nasri is replaced by Silva. Be afraid, Sunderland.

  • 55'

    As I type, Zabaleta bombs on and has a pop, but the effort lacks power and bobbles wide.

  • 54'

    Aguero has yet to have an impact, but then again he has only had nine minutes.

  • 53'

    Sunderland's turn to enjoy play in a more advanced area, alas City are well-organised and leave little room for exploitation.

  • 52'

    City regain the ball, and begin on another attack. They win a corner which Nasri sends in, but Sunderland nod away.

  • 51'

    The corner is curled in but City's defence stands firm. The tempo in this match still is a little sticky.

  • 50'

    Corner to Sunderland after further excellent work from Cattermole.

  • 49'

    Could be the kiss of death, but Cattermole has been impressive today.

  • 48'

    Kolarov fires in a cross and Mignolet deals with it in awkward fashion as he hangs out a foot, deflecting the ball away.

  • 47'

    Sessegnon slides a pass out wide to McClean, who bends in a first-time cross. But he gets the angle wrong and the ball is out for a goal kick.

  • 46'

    And, indeed, Aguero is on for De Jong, who was on a booking, remember.

  • 46'

    Second half: Sunderland get us back under way.


    Word on the street is that De Jong is to be hauled off for Aguero as Mancini goes for the jugular, aware this is a mighty opportunity to strike a title blow.


    Not a great half, but not an overly poor one, like earlier today. Bendtner had the best chance, in the opening minutes, but was not clinical. Dzeko, meanwhile has hit the bar. Delicately poised.


    Half-time: Sunderland 0-0 Manchester City

  • 45'

    One minute of added time will be played.

  • 45'

    Ooof! Gardner thumps on from about 25 yards out and the shot zooms just past the top corner. Hart was worried.

  • 44'

    Nasri is working hard to influence matters, but he doesn't have the same brilliance as Silva and hence City look a weaker side without the Spaniard.

  • 43'

    Following praise for yours truly, Toure has, in the last few minutes, been a little lax when on the ball, losing it far too cheaply.

  • 42'

    Larsson launches a deep free-kick, and Hart is off his line to punch clear with authority.

  • 41'

    The home fans are cheering even a sniff of positivity, which is no criticism. They will likely be joyous if the scoreline is goalless at the half-time whistle.

  • 40'

    What a waste. Nasri played it short to Kolarov, who was blocked off shortly after.

  • 39'

    Free-kick to City in a tempting area. Near the corner of the penalty box.

  • 38'

    Johnson, from the left side this time, sends in a whipped cross. Mignolet is far from convincing with his take, but gets it at the second attempt.

  • 37'

    City have had 64% of the ball. Sunderland will be knackered if this continues.

  • 36'

    Sunderland will hope to ride this mini storm out. A sloppy pass from Kompany has helped relieve some of the pressure.

  • 35'

    WOODWORK! The resulting corner is half-cleared and Dzeko controls. He hammers from just inside the box, but the ball clips the bar and zips over. So close.

  • 34'

    Ooo. Almost an own goal there. Vaughan tracks back and takes the ball off the toe of a defending team-mate, almost slotting into his own net.


    Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon and Manchester City's Gareth Barry battle for the ball

  • 33'

    Then Johnson curls a shot past Mignolet, it looks goalbound but the ball is hacked away. Pressure increasing.

  • 32'

    A save! And a very good one at that. City work the ball into the box. It is a little untidy, but it is effective. Dzeko is positioned to finish, but Mignolet is there is block with his body from just a few yards out.

  • 31'

    Sunderland shirts swarm round Dzeko, whose shot is deflected out for a corner.

  • 30'

    Sessegnon, the man who looks most likely to make things happen for Sunderland, finds space but then unleashes a wayward shot that zooms well, well wide.

  • 29'

    Sunderland now enjoying more of the ball, but City's backline looks untroubled.

  • 28'

    It's a groin problem for Brown. He didn't look to clever when limping off.

  • 27'

    Kilgallon last played for Sunderland in May 2010. Blimey.

  • 26'

    Brown, to boos from the City support, comes off for Kilgallon.

  • 25'

    Yep, Brown is about to be replaced. Further fitness woe for O'Neill.

  • 24'

    Uh-oh. Brown appears to be injured.

  • 23'

    The volume is turned up as Sessegnon wriggles forward. But Sunderland lack numbers and the move breaks down.

  • 22'

    Johnson tries to nutmeg Colback, but the red-headed youngster closes his legs to prevent, ahem, embarassment.

  • 21'

    Johnson does really well, showing off his dribbling skills, before laying off to Toure, who is swiftly tackled by Toure.

  • 20'

    For All City's possession thus far, they haven't probed all that well. Been rather sideways.

  • 19'

    De Jong wants a booking for someone. Larsson may have caught him, then Vaughan appeared to bash him on the head. No yellow brandished.

  • 18'

    O'Neill is stood watching on attentively on the touchline, looking eager as ever.

  • 17'

    City are dominating possession, boasting nearly 70% of it. But Sunderland counter-attacking well, when the opportunity arises.

  • 16'

    Applause from the home fans as Brown drops a shoulder to make Dzeko look silly.

  • 15'

    Toure makes a smart burst into the box and looks set to pull the trigger after a cutback headed his way, but the ball evaded him at the last moment.

  • 14'

    City take a corner short and Adam Johnson has it. He tries to curl one from a tight angle, looking for the far corner. The ball flashes over.

  • 13'

    And by 'leggy' I don't mean fatigued.

  • 12'

    City yet to test Mignolet. Yaya Toure looks their most likely route to goal at the moment, with the midfielder in typical leggy mood.

  • 11'

    This youngster McClean looks an exciting prospect. He just embarked on a mazy run that got the home fans roaring.

  • 10'

    Mignolet jumps and gets a fist to the corner to force it out for a trow-in.

  • 9'

    Another corner to City after Johnson was tackled...

  • 8'

    De Jong goes into the book after fine harrying from Cattermole sees the latter win the ball ahead of the Dutchman, who took the Englishman out.

  • 7'

    Sessegnon's a good player, isn't he? I like him.

  • 6'

    City attack well down the left and the ball is fed into the box. Dzeko looks to pounce but the flag is up for offside.

  • 5'

    Might that be Sunderland's best chance already gone begging? Anyway, just then, McClean had a pop from range. Hart got down well to smother.

  • 4'

    ...Sunderland spring clear on the break and Bendtner finds himself clean through. The Dane tries to round Hart, but the keeper refuses to let him through, and ultimately Bendtner's shot is straight at the England No.1

  • 3'

    Powerful run from Yaya Toure. He wins a corner, which is cleared by Sunderland. Oh my...

  • 2'

    Sunderland have not had a kick yet. City bossing possession.

  • 1'

    KICK-OFF: Manchester City get the game under way.


    Teams are in the tunnel. You heard it here first.


    The Apprentice music bellows round the stadium. *struggles to avoid making terrible joke relating to said show*


    Niall Quinn is also in the same studio. He says that O'Neill "runs" from office to office at Sunderland, such is his enthusiasm. Not sure Bruce did the same.


    "Get in their faces" is Peter Reid's advice (he is speaking on television) for Sunderland.


    This is a big game for City. A big opportunity. United, of course, slipped to a genuine shock defeat yesterday at home to Blackburn, meaning City can go three points clear of their rivals at the top with a success today.


    Good afternoon. Welcome to the second Premier League match of 2012. The first, a 1-0 win for Everton at West Brom, was rank. I mean, it stunk the place out. Let's hope for the total opposite at the Stadium of Light. I'm not hungover, by the way. Not one bit.


    Manchester City team: Hart, Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Kolarov, Johnson, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Barry, Nasri, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Clichy, Savic, Milner, Silva, Aguero.


    Sunderland team: Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Brown, Colback, McClean, Cattermole, Vaughan, Larsson, Bendtner, Sessegnon. Subs: Carson, Kilgallon, Elmohamady, Ji, Meyler, Noble, Laing.


    ESPNsoccernet's James Dall will bring you live minute-by-minute commentary of Sunderland's Premier League match against Manchester City, which kicks off at 1500 GMT.