Writer: Michael Briggs
Date:Sunday August 29 2010
Stadium of Light
29th August 2010 15:00
Pundits condemned them, some fans got on their backs some even questioned the manager`s ability, but Sunderland laughed in the faces of the negativity that faced them by beating Manchester City 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.
In what was an electric match, it was Darren Bent who separated the sides with a last gasp penalty to give the Black Cats their first three points of the season.
But it could have been so much different had big money buy Carlos Tevez put his effort away instead of blasting sky clear over the bar.
But with all the joy and celebration there was a sour moment, striker Fraizer Campbell had to be stretchered off with what appears to be medial knee ligament damage, according to early reports.
Before kick off a sense of nervousness could be sensed around the stadium, the visitors where in good form, a convincing performance in Europe and the demolition of rivals Liverpool didn`t bode well for Steve Bruce and his men, as the first half proved.
City dominated and instantly took control of the game, delivering crisp passes and using the talents they have bought well, In particular former Sunderland target Adam Johnson despite Bent, Ahmed Elmohamady and Frazier Campbell having chances but failing to test Joe Hart.
That aside, the next few moments will no doubt be shown countless on TV for days on end.
Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure showing great power and speed, running 50-yards and catching the home defence out with a splitting pass to Tevez who had the goal as his mercy, but incredibly blasted his side footed effort over the bar, much to the delights of the Sunderland crowd.
Embarrassed? Maybe a little bit but it didn`t stop the Argentinean from getting stuck and push for a goal.
By half time, sighs of relief may have been blown, confidence may have started to lift and fill the stadium, and fans could sense Steve Bruce`s men could get a result out of this game.
Danny Welbeck and Phil Bardsley were called upon after half time to try mix the game up and replace the injured Campbell and Michael Turner.
It seemed to work with the Black Cats coming out of the blocks first much to the frustration of Blues boss Roberto Mancini.
Egyptian winger Elmohamady`s cross-shot almost caught out Hart, who was forced to react well and forced into conceding a corner.
Welbeck terrorised the City defence at a constant rate, using his pace and touch to get by and almost get Bent numerous times.
Mancini then decided to bring on Emmanuel Adebayor to bluster the visiting attack and the sub almost staked his claim to be recalled to the starting eleven.
James Milner`s corner finding Micah Richards whose header was almost volleyed in by the Togo international but a fantastic reaction save from the ever-impressing Simon Mignolet denied him.
As time wore on Sunderland pressed more, crosses and passes were penetrating, Steed Malbranque turned players inside out and ran his feet to the ground, four minutes would be displayed and a draw looked inevitable.
But with time almost out Elmohamady clipped in another dangerous cross and found Bent who was also pulled back by Richards to give Sunderland a chance to snatch three points.
Bent picked himself up, and scuffed the penalty down the middle of Harts goal to send the home crowd into raptures.
After the game Steve Bruce was more then happy with his sides performance and gave plenty of credit to his players duties.
He said, "I've just seen the penalty incident, I don't think there was any doubt it was a penalty. Maybe it was what we deserved for our endeavour and attitude.
"It was an intense game and it was always going to be. City have an array of talent when you look at who was coming off the bench.
"Man for man today it was all about what the Premier League is. We passed it well but the great thing is everyone stuck at their jobs and it was good to see us being resolute.
"Tevez will probably never miss like that again but we were due a bit of luck. It deserted us for a while.
"There's been a lot of negativity around. Now we have to make sure we keep moving forward and results like this obviously help.
"I didn't see the penalty when it was taken, I don't know where he stuck it but well done Benty. I still don't watch them!"
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Date:Sunday August 29 2010
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