Ji shock for City
Published 01/01/2012 | 17:12
Sunderland substitute Ji Dong-won blew the Barclays Premier League title race wide open once again with a last-gasp goal to earn a 1-0 win against leaders Manchester City.
The South Korea international struck in the fourth minute of injury time to condemn City to defeat after the injury-hit Black Cats had staged a determined rearguard action.
Edin Dzeko and substitute Micah Richards had earlier both hit the bar and Sergio Aguero was denied by keeper Simon Mignolet, but Sunderland duo Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon had passed up glorious opportunities at the other end.
The Black Cats broke at pace from a third-minute defensive corner and Sessegnon slid the perfect pass into the Bendtner's run to put him in on goal. Bendtner took the ball wide of goalkeeper Joe Hart, but crucially not wide enough and the England international was able to make an important block.
Hart had to make a smart save from James McClean's effort two minutes later, but as the half went on, it was a City side featuring six changes from the 0-0 draw at West Brom which began to dominate.
Dzeko rattled the crossbar with a powerful drive 10 minutes before the break and then prompted a comfortable save from Mignolet from distance with two minutes of the half remaining.
Roberto Mancini had seen enough and replaced defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong with Aguero at the break, although it was McClean who went close to breaking the deadlock when his 47th-minute cross flew just over the angle of bar and post.
Sunderland should have been in front with 64 minutes gone when Sessegnon cut inside from the right and found himself with just Hart to beat.
Richards went desperately close to a winner with a minute of normal time remaining when he headed the ball into the ground and saw it come back off the crossbar after Mignolet had parried David Silva's shot.
However, the drama was not over and when Sessegnon stabbed the ball into Ji's path, he calmly rounded Hart to snatch three precious points.