For photos from the match scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left. For stats, click on the match stats tab. Manager reactions and press conferences below.
Manchester City fell to a fourth consecutive 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland secured their second Barclays Premier League win of the season.
Phil Bardsley was Sunderland's matchwinner with his first Barclays Premier League goal of the season in the 21st minute. The defender perfectly placed a shot past Costel Pantilimon in the Manchester City goal, but Sunderland had to hang on to claim the victory.
Sergio Aguero saw a first-half header fly wide of goal, while substitute Jesus Navas had a chance blocked by Bardsley on the line. City pushed hard for an equaliser, penning the hosts inside their own half, but Micah Richards and Eden Dzeko were both denied by Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone. The three points lift Sunderland to within two points of Stoke City in 18th, while Manuel Pellegrini's side lose further ground on the leaders.
Pellegrini made five changes from the UEFA Champions League win over CSKA Moscow, with three of the alterations coming in his back four. Wes Brown started his first Premier League game in 22 months for Sunderland, while Steven Fletcher and Sebastian Larsson both returned.
Despite an equal share of possession it was the hosts who had the better of the early chances, but in the 18th minute Larsson risked a booking or worse after a mistimed challenge on Javi Garcia. Three minutes later Poyet's side broke the deadlock through Bardsley. The defender shrugged off the attentions of James Milner and Demichelis, who got in each other’s way on City’s right, and placed a composed finish into the far corner.
Just after the half-hour City had their first sight of goal through Sergio Aguero, but the Argentina forward wasted a fantastic chance. After being released by Samir Nasri on the left, Aleksandar Kolarov delivered a cross to the back post for the 25-year-old, yet he was unable to get his header on target.
The visitors were denied an equaliser five minutes into the second half as Bardsley blocked a shot from Navas, who had replaced Garcia, on the goalline. Aguero rolled away from John O'Shea on the left and raced into the penalty area before rolling the ball back to Navas, but his shot was blocked by the chest of the defender.
City's dominance intensified in the closing stages but Richards saw a low shot from the edge of the penalty area stopped by Mannone, and substitute Dzeko's first effort was parried away by the Italian prior to a frantic finale in which Sunderland held on.
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet: "They deserve all the credit. They are the ones on the pitch. We can plan; we can talk; we can train but at the end of the day the players are on the pitch and need to do it and they were outstanding.
"Tactically it's difficult to explain but we talked a lot, and tried to convince them it was possible – especially to keep a clean sheet against a top, top team who have scored seven and five in their last two games. It just shows that if we believe and we are convinced it [avoiding relegation] is going to be possible."
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "I really can't believe that we lost this match. I thought Sunderland won the match with one shot in 90 minutes, but football has these things. Sunderland scored the goal because our defenders had a clash between them, and that was their only chance to score. We had several chances at least to draw and to win but we couldn’t do it.
"When you are 1-0 behind you are playing against the score, against the time, against the other team. Maybe, especially in the first half, we played too quickly to try to level. What would I change? Nothing, I think we are really playing well.
"I am concerned because we are losing too many points away, and of course that makes it hard to fight for the Premier League."
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|21 Dec 2013||v Norwich (H)|