Premier League
SunderlandSunderland0Man CityManchester City1

Sunderland 0-1 Manchester City

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero netted his 13th Premier League goal of the season

Manchester City responded to the news of manager Manuel Pellegrini's summer departure with a hard-earned win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Pellegrini - who will be replaced by Pep Guardiola - saw Sergio Aguero gather a deflected cross to coolly finish with the outside of his foot.

Sunderland rallied, debutant Lamine Kone heading wide before Billy Jones hit the post just before the break.

Jones forced a Joe Hart save late on as City - sluggish on the night - held on.

Relive how City edged out Sunderland

Listen: How Pep almost played for City

They remain three points adrift of leaders Leicester City, while Sunderland stay four points from safety in 19th.

Sam Allardyce's side can, however, take pride in their display, and only a Nicolas Otamendi header on the goal line in injury time denied them a deserved point.

We are in big trouble - Allardyce

The Pep effect

City's backs-to-the wall display in the second half was surprising for a team unbeaten in six league games before kick-off.

The home side had more possession after the break and played the game almost entirely in the away half as City looked happy to take what Aguero's well-taken effort had earned them.

Possession and territory in the final 15 minutes showed how Manchester City were hanging on
Possession and territory in the final 15 minutes showed how Manchester City were hanging on

So was this a City hangover from Monday's news of Pellegrini's future exit? "We're here to win titles," said City keeper Hart afterwards. "Yesterday's news was never going to be a distraction."

Hart's key save from Jermain Defoe before the break saw Jones strike the woodwork from the follow up as Sunderland seized momentum in the match.

They ran 6km further than Pellegrini's side and had five more shots on the night, falling short as they lacked a player with the instinct Aguero showcased.

City's attitude will remain under the microscope after a defiant, if somewhat unconvincing display. Sunday's meeting with Leicester should provide an ideal environment to see if minds are on a future under Guardiola.

Jesys Navas
City - already without the injured Kevin de Bruyne - saw Jesus Navas damage his hamstring

Have Sunderland bought enough?

Sunderland manager Allardyce said he had to act in the January transfer window in order to battle the drop, and he gave debuts to signings Kone, and substitutes Dame N'Doye and Whabi Khazri.

In return he got what he says was the "best performance since I've been here".

The Black Cats have conceded more goals than anyone in the league, but Kone seemed to add some steel and should have levelled affairs when he headed wide while unmarked.

Another January acquisition Jan Kirchhoff impressed in a holding role - touching the ball more than anyone on the pitch - so on early inspection, supporters should feel buoyed by the new blood.

Jan Kirchhoff performance
Kirchhoff made five tackles (green), five interceptions (blue) and 10 recoveries (amber)

In contrast to their usual issues at the back, it was at the other end where shortcomings were exposed. Chances largely fell to defensive players, with John O'Shea guiding an effort over from 10 yards late on.

Perhaps most encouraging for home fans was the spirit and belief in their side as attacks flowed in a frantic finale, and Otamendi brilliantly blocked an N'Doye effort before clearing from the line.

The result may be in keeping with Sunderland's season but the display seemed to show the January window could prove a welcome turning point.

Man of the match - Nicolas Otamendi

Nicolas Otamendi heads the ball
Otamendi was on hand to clear with Joe Hart beaten and made three blocks during a solid display

Manager reaction

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "It was a tough game. This is a team who are fighting relegation. They will play every game like a final. It is not our style to play with nine defenders but it was our third game in a week and it was impossible to have a high pace with all our injuries. It was better to defend well and concentrate."

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: "We missed too many chances today and when you play a Manchester City side and have better chances than them, it shows the level of our performance. There's no result for us, the points aren't there, but the positives are. While this performance was the best since I've been here, we're in big trouble now when you look at the other results tonight."

Pellegrini 'delighted' with 100th game

The stats you need to know

  • This was Pellegrini's 100th Premier League match and his 65th win. Only Jose Mourinho (73) has won more of his opening 100.
  • Aguero has 12 goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances.
  • City picked up three yellow cards in second half injury time, two of them for time wasting.
  • Man City had only six shots all game and only one in the second half. Six is their joint-lowest in a Premier League game this season.

Up next?

City's home fixture with Leicester on Saturday lunchtime looks key as the title race enters its closing stages, while Sunderland know defeat when they host Liverpool hours later could see them slip further away from safety.



Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 25Mannone
  • 2JonesBooked at 59mins
  • 23Koné
  • 16O'Shea
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 27Kirchhoff
  • 17LensSubstituted forKhazriat 45'minutes
  • 21M'Vila
  • 6CattermoleSubstituted forJohnsonat 75'minutes
  • 9BoriniSubstituted forN'Doyeat 82'minutes
  • 18Defoe


  • 5Brown
  • 10N'Doye
  • 11Johnson
  • 13Pickford
  • 22Khazri
  • 24Yedlin
  • 41Watmore

Man City

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Hart
  • 3SagnaBooked at 90mins
  • 30OtamendiBooked at 80mins
  • 26Demichelis
  • 22Clichy
  • 15NavasSubstituted forSterlingat 76'minutes
  • 25FernandinhoBooked at 90mins
  • 42Y TouréSubstituted forKolarovat 79'minutes
  • 21Silva
  • 72IheanachoSubstituted forRegesat 45'minutes
  • 10AgüeroBooked at 90mins


  • 5Zabaleta
  • 6Reges
  • 7Sterling
  • 11Kolarov
  • 13Caballero
  • 59Celina
  • 62Barker
Stuart Attwell

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamMan City
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sunderland 0, Manchester City 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Manchester City 1.

  3. Booking

    Bacary Sagna (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Manchester City. David Silva tries a through ball, but Aleksandar Kolarov is caught offside.

  5. Booking

    Fernandinho (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jan Kirchhoff (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dame N'Doye with a headed pass.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Bacary Sagna.

  8. Booking

    Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

  10. Post update

    Yann M'Vila (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Yann M'Vila (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

  13. Post update

    Yann M'Vila (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Dame N'Doye (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Fernando.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Fernando.

  17. Post update

    Offside, Sunderland. Jan Kirchhoff tries a through ball, but Wahbi Khazri is caught offside.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Sunderland. Dame N'Doye replaces Fabio Borini.

  19. Post update

    Bacary Sagna (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland).

As It Stood

2Man City24145546232347
5Man Utd24117631211040
6West Ham24109538281039
11Crystal Palace2494112529-431
13West Brom247892331-829
20Aston Villa2427151840-2213
View full Premier League table

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