Manchester City staged a dramatic late fightback to keep their title bid alive, coming from 3-1 down to draw with Sunderland at Etihad Stadium.

Sebastian Larsson put Sunderland ahead before Mario Balotelli equalised from the spot after Edin Dzeko was fouled.

The visitors restored their lead via Nicklas Bendtner's header and extended it when Larsson met Bendtner's cross.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • A win would have seen Manchester City equal the all-time top-flight record of 21 home victories in a row, set by Liverpool in 1972

But Balotelli fired in and Aleksandar Kolarov drilled home to level, although City lost their 100% home record.

Despite their spirited comeback, City know that if Manchester United win at Blackburn on Monday the 19-time champions will move five points clear at the Premier League summit.

It was a thrilling end to a match in which Sunderland produced a brilliant away performance to stand on the verge of a huge upset.

But from the moment excellent centre-back Matt Kilgallon was replaced by Sotirios Krygiakos on 80 minutes, the visitors appeared vulnerable.

City were especially grateful for the intervention of Balotelli, a player boss Roberto Mancini said on Friday he does not trust.

The Italian striker was involved in an angry exchange with Kolarov on 65 minutes, yet it seemed to galvanise him to engineer City's revival.

Mancini slams City performance

At 3-1 down on 85 minutes, Balotelli cut in from the left to rifle a superb finish across Simon Mignolet - and 69 seconds later it was 3-3.

Until then, neither Balotelli nor his team-mates displayed the sort of pace, power or intelligence that has characterised much of their season.

Sunderland threatened twice in the first five minutes through James McClean and Sessegnon, while Craig Gardner hit the side-netting.

Having then squandered two chances of their own - Mignolet denying Dzeko and Balotelli heading over - City were punished.

Sessignon surged in from the left and fed an unmarked Larsson, who side-footed into Joe Hart's bottom corner from just outside the box.

City finally generated some momentum as Kolarov and Yaya Toure went close before Gardner brought down Dzeko.

Sunderland were furious with referee Phil Dowd's decision but there was clear contact and Balotelli wrong-footed Mignolet.

Draw 'feels like a defeat' - O'Neill

Rather than immediately pushing for a second though, City lacked energy and intent as Sunderland regained their early verve.

They were dangerous on the counter-attack but it was a routine position from which they struck four minutes into first-half stoppage time.

City conceded a free-kick on the right and switched off, allowing Sessignon to advance and centre for Bendtner to head past Hart.

Mancini was furious with his players as they walked down the tunnel and Adam Johnson came on for Micah Richards at the break.

However, their afternoon took another turn for the worse when Sessegnon robbed Yaya Toure and fed Bendtner on the right.

Faced with a two-on-one scenario, the Dane eluded Kolo Toure with a low cross that was turned in by Larsson.

Carlos Tevez and David Pizarro were introduced from the bench as City did all they could to salvage a result.

Balotelli and Kolarov squared up to each over over who should take a set-piece before both men struck to earn their side a point.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill: "We performed brilliantly and should have won. We didn't and you have to credit Manchester City.

"I'm disappointed we didn't take three points but it was a magnificent effort. I wouldn't single anybody out today. It was a great team effort but in between that there were individuals who were very good.

"They were immense today. Any neutral would have thought we would have been well and truly beaten today. We showed spirit and ability."

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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Man City 3-3 Sunderland FT
(HT 1-2)
  • Balotelli (pen) 43
  • Balotelli 85
  • Kolarov 86
  • Larsson 31
  • Bendtner 45+4
  • Larsson 55

Man City

Substitutes

Sunderland

Substitutes

Ref: DowdAtt: 47,007
MAN CITY
SUNDERLAND

Possession

  • Man City 53%
  • Sunderland 47%

Attempts on target

  • Man City 10
  • Sunderland 4

Attempts off target

  • Man City 9
  • Sunderland 4

Corners

  • Man City 17
  • Sunderland 5

Fouls

  • Man City 11
  • Sunderland 13
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:16 The referee brings the game to a close.
  • 90:00+3:53 Aleksandar Kolarov sends in a cross, Craig Gardner makes a clearance.
  • 90:00+3:15 The ball is delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov, Simon Mignolet makes a save.
  • 90:00+2:41 Substitution David Vaughan joins the action as a substitute, replacing Lee Cattermole.
  • 90:00+0:51 Sotirios Kyrgiakos challenges Mario Balotelli unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Gnegneri Toure Yaya.
  • 90:00 David Pizarro takes a shot. Blocked by Michael Turner. Shot by Gnegneri Toure Yaya from outside the box goes over the net.
  • 89:04 Kolo Toure produces a cross, blocked by Craig Gardner. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by David Pizarro.
  • 88:28+0:18 Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Blocked by Michael Turner.
  • 88:25 Short corner taken by David Pizarro, clearance made by Jack Colback.
  • 87:47 Free kick awarded for a foul by Adam Johnson on James McClean. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
  • 87:31 Stephane Sessegnon challenges Nigel De Jong unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nigel De Jong takes the direct free kick.
  • 85:49 David Pizarro provided the assist for the goal.
  • 85:49 GOAL - Aleksandar KolarovMan City 3 - 3 Sunderland Aleksandar Kolarov grabs a goal from just outside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man City 3-3 Sunderland.
  • Correction - 84:40 GOAL - Mario BalotelliMan City 2 - 3 Sunderland Mario Balotelli grabs a goal from the edge of the penalty area high into the middle of the goal. Man City 2-3 Sunderland.
  • 84:40 Assist on the goal came from Aleksandar Kolarov.
  • 84:40 GOAL - Mario BalotelliMan City 2 - 3 Sunderland A goal is scored by Mario Balotelli from the edge of the penalty area high into the middle of the goal. Man City 2-3 Sunderland.
  • 84:11 Jack Colback gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Johnson. Adam Johnson takes the direct free kick.
  • 82:57 Effort from the edge of the box by Nicklas Bendtner goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 81:51 James McClean concedes a free kick for a foul on Gnegneri Toure Yaya. Aleksandar Kolarov fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
  • 81:28 Sotirios Kyrgiakos restarts play with the free kick.
  • 80:20 Substitution Sotirios Kyrgiakos joins the action as a substitute, replacing Matthew Kilgallon.
  • 80:20 Substitution David Pizarro comes on in place of James Milner.
  • 80:20 Lee Cattermole fouled by Carlos Tevez, the ref awards a free kick.
  • 79:55 The ball is sent over by Phillip Bardsley, Aleksandar Kolarov gets a block in.
  • 78:22 Gnegneri Toure Yaya takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Gardner. Carlos Tevez takes a shot. Save made by Simon Mignolet.
  • 77:18 Centre by Aleksandar Kolarov, Jack Colback manages to make a clearance. Corner taken by James Milner from the right by-line.
  • Correction - 74:34 Adam Johnson takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Gardner.
  • 74:34 Adam Johnson takes a shot. Craig Gardner gets a block in.
  • 73:22 Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Adam Johnson gets a block in.
  • 73:04 Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Blocked by Michael Turner.
  • 72:45 James McClean delivers the ball, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.
  • 71:32 Corner taken by Aleksandar Kolarov from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Matthew Kilgallon.
  • 71:26 The ball is sent over by Gnegneri Toure Yaya, clearance by Matthew Kilgallon.
  • 71:16 The ball is crossed by Kolo Toure, clearance made by Sebastian Larsson.
  • 71:04 Centre by James Milner, Matthew Kilgallon manages to make a clearance.
  • 70:19 James Milner crosses the ball, blocked by Jack Colback. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson, Nicklas Bendtner makes a clearance.
  • 67:57 Effort from the edge of the penalty box by Carlos Tevez goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 67:38 Sebastian Larsson takes the inswinging corner, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.
  • Correction - 65:40 Corner taken left-footed by James McClean from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Edin Dzeko. Matthew Kilgallon produces a cross, clearance by Kolo Toure. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by James McClean from the right by-line to the near post, Edin Dzeko manages to make a clearance.
  • 65:40 Corner taken left-footed by James McClean from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Edin Dzeko. The ball is crossed by Matthew Kilgallon, Kolo Toure makes a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by James McClean from the right by-line to the near post, Edin Dzeko manages to make a clearance.
  • 63:05 Foul by Sebastian Larsson on Aleksandar Kolarov, free kick awarded. Aleksandar Kolarov fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
  • 62:58 Gnegneri Toure Yaya sends in a cross, clearance made by Michael Turner.
  • 62:36 The ball is delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov, clearance made by Jack Colback.
  • 62:21 The ball is crossed by Aleksandar Kolarov, blocked by Sebastian Larsson.
  • 60:21 Adam Johnson takes the inswinging corner, Craig Gardner makes a clearance.
  • 58:29 James Milner takes the inswinging corner, Close range headed effort by Kolo Toure clears the crossbar.
  • 57:21 Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
  • 57:21 Substitution Carlos Tevez joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Silva.
  • 57:21 Free kick awarded for a foul by Adam Johnson on Jack Colback.
  • 56:01 Jack Colback restarts play with the free kick.
  • 56:01 Booking Booking for Nigel De Jong for unsporting behaviour.
  • 55:44 Foul by Nigel De Jong on Stephane Sessegnon, free kick awarded.
  • 54:04 Assist on the goal came from Nicklas Bendtner.
  • 54:04 GOAL - Sebastian LarssonMan City 1 - 3 Sunderland Sebastian Larsson fires in a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man City 1-3 Sunderland.
  • 50:27 Gnegneri Toure Yaya fouled by Lee Cattermole, the ref awards a free kick. Nigel De Jong takes the direct free kick.
  • 48:35 The ball is crossed by Adam Johnson, save by Simon Mignolet.
  • 48:19 Short corner taken by Adam Johnson from the right by-line.
  • 47:30 James McClean concedes a free kick for a foul on Edin Dzeko. Direct free kick taken by James Milner.
  • 46:37 Short corner worked by Sebastian Larsson.
  • 45:01 The second half has started.
  • 45:01 Substitution Adam Johnson comes on in place of Micah Richards.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+5:26 The ref blows to end the first period.
  • 45:00+3:41 Assist on the goal came from Stephane Sessegnon.
  • 45:00+3:41 GOAL - Nicklas BendtnerMan City 1 - 2 Sunderland Nicklas Bendtner grabs a headed goal from close in. Man City 1-2 Sunderland.
  • 45:00+3:15 Foul by Vincent Kompany on Stephane Sessegnon, free kick awarded. Lee Cattermole takes the free kick. Stephane Sessegnon produces a cross,
  • 45:00+1:33 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by James Milner, save by Simon Mignolet. Unfair challenge on Simon Mignolet by Mario Balotelli results in a free kick. Simon Mignolet takes the direct free kick.
  • 42:42 Edin Dzeko provided the assist for the goal.
  • 42:42 GOAL - Mario BalotelliMan City 1 - 1 Sunderland Mario Balotelli scores a placed penalty. Man City 1-1 Sunderland.
  • 41:58 Unfair challenge on Edin Dzeko by Craig Gardner results in a Penalty.
  • 41:17 James Milner delivers the ball, Phillip Bardsley makes a clearance.
  • Correction - 40:11 James Milner takes a short corner.
  • 40:11 James Milner decides to take the corner short.
  • 40:06 James Milner crosses the ball, blocked by Michael Turner.
  • 39:01 Shot comes in from Aleksandar Kolarov from the free kick, save by Simon Mignolet.
  • 39:01 Booking Craig Gardner is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
  • 38:49 Foul by Craig Gardner on Gnegneri Toure Yaya, free kick awarded.
  • 37:53 Mario Balotelli challenges Michael Turner unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
  • 37:43 James Milner produces a cross, Sebastian Larsson gets a block in.
  • 37:07 Short corner worked by James Milner.
  • 36:10 A cross is delivered by James Milner, blocked by Jack Colback. Corner taken left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov from the right by-line to the near post, Craig Gardner makes a clearance.
  • 35:10 Centre by Edin Dzeko, clearance made by Sebastian Larsson.
  • 33:06 Aleksandar Kolarov takes a shot from long distance which goes wide of the right-hand post.
  • 30:02 The assist for the goal came from Stephane Sessegnon.
  • 30:02 GOAL - Sebastian LarssonMan City 0 - 1 Sunderland A goal is scored by Sebastian Larsson from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man City 0-1 Sunderland.
  • 29:52 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jack Colback by Mario Balotelli. Jack Colback restarts play with the free kick.
  • 29:42 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by James McClean, clearance made by Nigel De Jong.
  • 29:12 Effort on goal by James McClean from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.
  • 28:37 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James McClean by James Milner. Direct free kick taken by James McClean.
  • 27:35 James McClean produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.
  • 26:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by David Silva on Lee Cattermole. Direct free kick taken by Jack Colback.
  • 25:57 Inswinging corner taken by Aleksandar Kolarov from the right by-line played to the near post, Mario Balotelli produces a header from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
  • 25:13 Aleksandar Kolarov delivers the ball, Craig Gardner manages to make a clearance.
  • 22:39 Aleksandar Kolarov produces a cross, Sebastian Larsson makes a clearance. Corner taken right-footed by James Milner from the left by-line, save made by Simon Mignolet. David Silva crosses the ball, clearance made by Nicklas Bendtner.
  • 22:03 Unfair challenge on David Silva by James McClean results in a free kick. David Silva takes the free kick.
  • 20:41 Corner taken by Aleksandar Kolarov, save by Simon Mignolet.
  • 18:09 James Milner decides to take the corner short.
  • 17:46 Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.
  • 17:24 The ball is swung over by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Kolo Toure.
  • 16:06 The official flags Micah Richards offside. Simon Mignolet takes the direct free kick.
  • 15:11 Craig Gardner has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.
  • 12:44 The assistant referee signals for offside against Edin Dzeko. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
  • 12:14 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Silva by Sebastian Larsson. Gnegneri Toure Yaya takes the free kick.
  • 11:33 A cross is delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov, Jack Colback makes a clearance.
  • 10:22 The ball is sent over by Phillip Bardsley.
  • 7:24 Phillip Bardsley concedes a free kick for a foul on Mario Balotelli. Shot on goal comes in from Aleksandar Kolarov from the free kick, save made by Simon Mignolet.
  • 4:33 Unfair challenge on Mario Balotelli by Jack Colback results in a free kick. David Silva takes the direct free kick.
  • 2:35 Sebastian Larsson delivers the ball, clearance by Vincent Kompany. James McClean takes a shot. Micah Richards gets a block in.
  • 1:01 Corner taken by James Milner. Centre by David Silva, James McClean fouled by Micah Richards, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
  • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

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