Manchester City vs. Sunderland: Premier League Live Score, Highlights, Recap
After stumbling against Borussia Dortmund in their midweek Champions League fixture, Manchester City bounced back in a big way against Sunderland and showed all the signs of a league-winning side in a dominant 3-0 display.
The game represented City's first clean sheet of the season too, so while there are certainly positives to take in attack, it's perhaps the defensive boost that was the biggest positive for the Citizens.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Richards, Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, Barry, Yaya Toure; Silva, Balotelli, Tevez
Substitutes: Pantilimon, Clichy, K.Toure, Rodwell, Nasri, Aguero, Dzeko
Scorers: Aleksandar Kolarov 4'
Sunderland: Mignolet; Gardner, Cuellar, O'Shea, Rose; Colback, Larsson; Johnson, Sessegnon, McClean; Fletcher
Substitutes: Campbell, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Meyler, Bramble, Saha, Westwood
That win sees Manchester City move up to second place, if only temporarily, while Sunderland remain in 13th spot, the position in which they finished last season.
Martin O'Neill's first loss of the campaign may have come in a demoralising defeat, but the Black Cats have no time to rest on their laurels with a derby clash with Newcastle just around the corner.
You would have been lucky to have Aleksandar Kolarov in your fantasy team today after the Serb scored a goal and recorded two assists, but any Sunderland players will certainly not have yielded much.
And that's all she wrote.
Three points in the bag and three goals scored past a weak Sunderland outfit. Perhaps the biggest positive for Roberto Mancini today was seeing his side keep their first clean sheet of the season.
90'+3—CITY 3-0 SUN
We're in the final minute of extra-time and City are toying with the ball before they see this game off.
89'—GOAL!!!!!! (Manchester City)
That free kick does indeed result in a goal for the hosts and it's James Milner that claims the bragging rights this time round.
Simon Mignolet should arguably have done better considering the effort goes right over his head but Milner smashed that with some ferocity.
89'—Yellow Card!! (Gardner)
All of this morning's pressure finally tells and Craig Gardner is forced to hack down Aleksandar Kolarov on the edge of his own area.
86'—SUBSTITUTION (Manchester City)
In a bid to shore up his defence in the dying minutes, Robert Mancini throws Gael Clichy on in place of Carlos Tevez, who is applauded massively by his adoring home fans.
What a difference a year can make, eh?
The second former Manchester United striker to come on today, Fraizer Campbell replaces Stephane Sessegnon in O'Neill's third and final change.
81'—Yellow Card! (Sunderland)
Jack Colback makes an honest attempt to prevent Pablo Zabaleta getting the ball but just slides in on the City man the wrong way and is rewarded with a yellow card for his troubles.
80'—CITY 2-0 SUN
Sunderland are in a precarious position at the moment. The score means that the Black Cats are being forced to attack but risk being left vulnerable at the back if they commit too many players forward.
City are having a very easy time as a result.
77'—CITY 2-0 SUN
In what's becoming something a theme at the Etihad this morning, Carlos Tevez finds space amongst the Sunderland defence to charge in on Mignolet's goal.
John O'Shea gets his body in front of the dribbling maestro and shepherds the ball so that his goalkeeper can claim.
To say this game had developed a one-sided edge would be a huge understatement and the Sunderland defence are hanging on for dear life, with their stopper a massive reason why they're still only 2-0 down.
Mignolet has racked a fair amount of saves in the last five minutes alone and the hosts are having the easiest time finding space behind the Sunderland midfield.
This could get ugly fast.
70'—CITY HIT THE WOODWORK!!
How it isn't 3-0 yet, I will never know.
After Carlos Tevez draws Simon Mignolet off his line, the Argentine is forced away from the Sunderland goal.
However, with Mignolet still far from his line, the striker lays the ball off to David Silva who, on the crowd's urge, chips at the 'keeper-less net, hitting the crossbar as he does so.
Closer and closer, City descend.
In order to get his side back into this fixture, Martin O'Neill sends Louis Saha on in place of Adam Johnson, who receives huge applause from his former supporters.
Former Manchester United man, Saha, doesn't get as warm a reception to say the least.
65'—CITY 2-0 SUN
45 percent of play this half has been conducted in Sunderland's defensive third of the pitch. Camped.
25 - Only five players have scored more goals for Manchester City in Premier Leaguehistory than Sergio Aguero. Prolific.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 6, 2012
Straight after the goal, Danny Rose makes way for David Vaughan.
The Welshman moves into centre midfield, while Jack Colback moves to left-back.
61'—GOALLLLL!!! (Manchester City)
Sergio Aguero turns out to be the super sub that every home fan at the Etihad wanted him to be and latches onto a Kolarov cross to fire into the top-left of Mignolet's goal.
That's the Argentine's first goal here since scoring against QPR on the final day of last season.
Yet another City corner is met by the head of Micah ichards and the home support rise to their feet in preparation for a goal.
However, Simon Mignolet has something to say about that and not only saves, but holds onto a shot heading for the top-left corner of his goal.
A fantastic leap, if ever there was one.
56'—SUBSTITUTION (Manchester City)
Mario Balotelli fails to connect with a Kolraov cross and it's the last action the Italian has as he is swiftly taken off in place of Sergio Aguero.
Not a bad player to come off the bench, I suppose..
53'—CITY 1-0 SUN
Whatever Martin O'Neill said to his troops at halftime, it appears to be working.
First of all, Steven Fletcher gets a fierce effort in on goal, only to be signalled offside, before Adam Johnson nearly gets through one-on-one with Joe Hart.
Only a late Kolarov tackle stops the move and the visitors are attacking with far more purpose now.
50'—CITY GO CLOSE!
Danny Rose is a Sunderland saviour right now. A James Milner cross bumbles down to Micah Richards in the area and the Englishman snatches a shot that seems destined for the back fo the net.
However, Rose, on loan fro Tottenham, heads out despite being one of the smallest men on the pitch.
Every inch the hero.
49'—CITY 1-0 SUN
Seb Larsson uses that peach of a right foot to float over a wonderfully weighted cross to Steven Fletcher.
The ball hangs just a tad too long though and the Scotsman's first-time volley is blocked by the City defence.
46'—CITY 1-0 SUN
Both sides remain unchanged after halftime and resume the encounter with identical line-ups.
Sunderland already look more urgent in their approach and are forcing their line up far higher than in the first half.
Manchester City's players finally come out of the tunnel after waiting longer for Yaya Toure.
Very much a political intention of giving the image of unity there. Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon then begin the second half.
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