Nov 10, 2013, 11:01 AM EST
With Newcastle having downed Tottenham earlier today, title-hopefuls Manchester City suffered a setback of their own as Phil Bardsley and Sunderland downed the Citizens at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
Bardsley scored after a major defensive mistake from the City back line, and the home defense did its job after as City’s red-hot partnership of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo produced nothing significant in front of goal.
Like Spurs earlier, Manchester City wasted a host of shots – 23 of them to be exact – and Manuel Pellegrini’s bunch will be ruing their lack of creativity, not something said often this season.
The game began as a harsh, physical midfield battle with City bringing little width as they lumped all their midfielders relatively centrally.
Very little took place at the Stadium of Light until a goal lit up the home crowd in the 21st minute. Phil Bardsley locked himself onto a ball from Wes Brown, and after a defensive mix-up he clinically finished past Pantilimon for a surprising home lead.
The goal sprung the game wide open, as both teams pressed for more. Sergio Aguero flew a header wide in the 32nd minute which he’ll wish he had back, as Alvaro Negredo’s cross came beautifully across the face of goal to Aguero at the back post.
Adam Johnson, causing City all kinds of problems down both wings, nearly won a penalty battling with Milner on the left flank but referee Mike Dean said no as both players were battling for an advantage.
The match also featured some crunching tackles, with Javi Garcia earning a yellow card midway into the first half for his efforts. Sebastian Larsson nearly found himself into the book or worse, but somehow Mike Dean let him off the hook for a horrible challenge on Garcia that got no ball and all shin.
That challenge left Garcia substituted off at halftime for the attacking-minded Jesus Navas, and he helped build some attacking presence. The game, however, slipped back into the early first-half form of a midfield battle.
Ki Seung-Young had a chance from long-distance in the 58th minute but his slicing effort was always going wide.
Following that Manchester City began to assert their second-half dominance on the ball, but like Spurs earlier in the day could not produce a dangerous final ball. Sunderland’s defense remained very rigid and maintained its shape, and City never got seriously in past the back four until late searching for an equalizer.
Finally, in the final 10 minutes, the sense of urgency set in for Manchester City still down the early goal. Substitute Edin Dzeko and Alexander Kolarov had some serious attempts on Vito Mannone‘s goal, but Dzeko hit wide and Kolarov put the ball into the side netting.
Sunderland put every single player back behind the ball as City threw everything forward, but there was absolutely no space between the Black Cats players.
It’s a statement win for Sunderland, who remain in 19th position but are now in sight of the exit from the relegation zone, where three weeks ago they were in dire straits. Manager Gus Poyet has come in and picked up two wins where Paolo Di Canio couldn’t get one.
Sunderland – Bardsley 21′
Sunderland – Mannone; Celustka, Bardsley, Brown, O’Shea; Ki, Larsson, Colback, Johnson (Borini, 87′), Giaccherini (Gardner, 72′); Fletcher (Altidore, 77′).
Manchester City – Pantilimon; Richards (Zabaleta, 71′), Demichelis, Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, Toure, Garcia (Navas, 45′), Nasri; Aguero, Negredo (Dzeko, 71′).
Jan 27, 2015, 11:01 PM EST
Already it feels like Montreal has a major chance to be the winner in this deal, and that’s before they do anything with the allocation money.
Jan 27, 2015, 10:05 PM EST
It certainly wasn’t the wildest of days for the transfer rumor mill, but Manchester United, Southampton and Crystal Palace all said hello.
Jan 27, 2015, 9:12 PM EST
Surely Brendan Rodgers wouldn’t have been surprised to see Diego Costa’s temper flare up, but it didn’t make him any more understanding.
Jan 27, 2015, 8:32 PM EST
An ESPN FC report regarding Gedion Zelalem’s U.S. eligibility looks alarming, but is it a cause for concern?
Jan 27, 2015, 7:17 PM EST
He’s heinous. He’s prolific. He’s the Luis Suarez of 2015. And he’s making this season worth watching and hating. Unless you’re a Chelsea supporter.
Jan 27, 2015, 6:21 PM EST
Liverpool was the superior team in the first 45 minutes, but couldn’t find the finishing touch.
Jan 27, 2015, 5:17 PM EST
The Blues won 1-0 on the match and 2-1 on aggregate to move on the League Cup final versus Wednesday’s winner of Spurs and Sheffield United.
Jan 27, 2015, 4:12 PM EST
Six of eight knockout round slots are filled for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, and a couple well-known names are going home.
Jan 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EST
The Socceroos reached the AFC final for just the second-time in their history.
Jan 27, 2015, 2:20 PM EST
Yedlin flies halfway around the world to link up with USMNT after joining Tottenham in January.
Jan 27, 2015, 1:40 PM EST
Brazilian skipper aims to help Brazil win elusive Olympic gold medal on home soil.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:57 PM EST
Spaniard set to miss at least six months after rupturing anterior cruciate ligament.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:19 PM EST
Monster trade sees cash, players and allocation order’s dished out as USMNT midfielder could be heading home.
Jan 27, 2015, 11:10 AM EST
Wembley final on the line: Premier League giants clash at the Bridge while Spurs head to third-tier Blades.
Jan 27, 2015, 10:15 AM EST
Are the Citizens heading to the Big Apple?
Jan 27, 2015, 9:20 AM EST
Madrid say they have “responded diligently” to requests from world soccer’s governing body.
Jan 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EST
As Sterling continues to stall on a new deal, will Chelsea tempt the youngster with a move back to London?
Jan 27, 2015, 7:36 AM EST
Casillas declares his intention to play in the USA one day. When will that be?
Jan 26, 2015, 9:45 PM EST
Hope Solo’s punishment for repeated alcohol-related incidents could extend much further than her initial 30-day suspension.
Jan 26, 2015, 8:22 PM EST
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