Premier League - Last-gasp Sunderland stun Man City

Sun, 01 Jan 16:52:00 2012

Ji Dong-Won scored with the last kick of the game as Sunderland grabbed an astonishing 1-0 Premier League win against Manchester City at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland 1 Man City 0

The home side had withstood a second-half battering, before catching City on the break in the 93rd minute.

Ji, who was offside, rounded Joe Hart before coolly slotting into the empty net to deliver a mighty sucker punch and send manager Martin O'Neill into a wild, leaping celebration.

Sunderland have won three of their five games under O'Neill's stewardship, all thanks to late winners, and are up to 13th in the table.

The result means City failed to extend their lead at the top of the table - they remain level on points with Manchester United, who were shocked 3-2 by Blackburn on New Year's Eve.

It has been a miserable week for City, who were held to a goalless draw by West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day.

Roberto Mancini made six changes from the side that drew at The Hawthorns, naming David Silva and Sergio Aguero among the substitutes and leaving Mario Balotelli out of the squad altogether.

However, the quality of the players brought in - Joleon Lescott, Aleksandar Kolarov, Nigel De Jong, Gareth Barry, Adam Johnson and Edin Dzeko - proved no City team can ever be considered 'second-string'.

O'Neill made four changes of his own, including the return of Simon Mignolet after a broken eye socket and a first Premier League start for James McClean.

Sunderland defenders Titus Bramble and Phil Bardsley missed out through injury, and O'Neill's resources were stretched even further when Wes Brown limped off with a groin injury in the first half - Matt Kilgallon replaced him and performed superbly.

The game's first chance was a golden one, and fell to Sunderland's Nicklas Bendtner.

Stephane Sessegnon found the Dane expertly on the counter-attack and Bendtner raced through one-on-one.

However, his attempt to take the ball round Hart failed and the England goalkeeper blocked Bendtner's eventual shot.

The big striker's legendary self-confidence makes him a ready target for ridicule when he fails to justify his high opinion of himself, but this was an opportunity any striker would expect to convert.

Dzeko is another striker searching in vain to rediscover his prowess in front of goal. After an electric start to the season, the Bosnian has not scored since November 5.

He went close on 33 minutes, when Mignolet made a good close-range save, and two minutes later when a powerful shot flicked the top of the bar.

Craig Gardner had a similarly pure strike at the other end in first-half stoppage time, but his 25-yarder fizzed inches wide.

Johnson proved City's brightest spark in the first half, but Mancini brought Aguero on for De Jong at the break to add further attacking quality, and Silva followed early in the second half.

As the leaders poured forward, Dzeko continued to misfire, shooting over from the edge of the box and sending another effort into orbit.

Aguero saw a shot saved by the legs of Mignolet in controversial circumstances, as Sunderland felt Sessegnon had been fouled in the build-up.

Sessegnon then created and missed another chance, gliding past Vincent Kompany but shooting wide with the outside of his right boot when a left-foot shot or pass to Bendtner looked better options.

In the 89th minute, Mignolet parried a Silva shot and Micah Richards headed the follow-up on to the bar.

Sunderland's bodies-on-the-line defending was evident in blocks of Barry and Aguero shots. The latter led to the break from which Ji, supplied by Sessegnon, kept his cool and sent the Stadium of Light into raptures.

Alex Chick - twitter.com/alexchick81 / Eurosport

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