Manchester City missed a chance to move clear atop English soccer’s Premier League by allowing an injury-time goal that gave Sunderland a 1-0 victory yesterday.
Dong-Won Ji’s strike left City, which has failed to win in three straight away matches, on 45 points, ahead of Manchester United on goal difference. Two days ago, United suffered a 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn.
“I can’t believe it,” City manager Roberto Mancini told Sky Sports. “I’m really disappointed. We had a lot of chances to score.”
In yesterday’s other game, Everton won 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion to climb three spots to ninth. Sunderland is now 13th, one spot behind West Brom, after its victory.
Two days ago, Tottenham drew 1-1 at Swansea, Arsenal beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 and Chelsea was beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa. Bolton and Wolverhampton Wanderers tied 1-1, Stoke and Wigan shared a 2-2 draw, while Norwich and Fulham tied 1-1. Liverpool beat Newcastle 3-1 on Dec. 30.
There are five games scheduled for today. Arsenal is at Fulham, Chelsea faces Wolves, Villa hosts Swansea, Blackburn plays Stoke, while QPR is at home against Norwich.
City hosts Liverpool among matches on Jan. 3, while United is at Newcastle the following day.
Sunderland had a chance to take a third-minute lead at the Stadium of Light yesterday as Stephane Sessegnon started a breakaway following a City corner. He passed to Nicklas Bendtner, who had a clear run at goal before being forced wide and shooting straight at Joe Hart.
City’s Adam Johnson lifted a shot onto the roof of the net on 13 minutes, while Simon Mignolet blocked a close-range Edin Dzeko shot in the 32nd minute.
Dzeko came close again soon after with a powerful shot that struck the bar.
Sunderland, already without several players because of injuries, lost defender Wes Brown midway through the first half.
City introduced striker Sergio Aguero in place of defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong at halftime and started to create more chances, although Sunderland also had several efforts at goal.
Aguero fired straight at Mignolet on 59 minutes, then at the other end Sessegnon cut inside the penalty area in the 65th minute and shot just wide.
The visitors pushed for a winning goal late on, with fullback Micah Richards heading against the bar after Mignolet saved a shot from David Silva, who had another effort seconds later.
Then, in the final seconds of the match, Sunderland broke away and Sessegnon slid the ball through to Ji, who went round Hart to snatch the victory.
“It was a remarkable performance by the team,” Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill told Sky Sports. “The spirit is fantastic.”
At the Hawthorns, substitute Victor Anichebe scored in the 87th minute to lift Everton into the top half of the standings.