Belfast Telegraph

Sunderland v Manchester City - story of the match

Manchester City survived an early scare before goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane boosted their top four credentials with a 2-0 win at rock-bottom Sunderland on Sunday.

Jermain Defoe came close to giving the hosts a shock lead in the 20th minute when he drilled his shot against the post before Fabio Borini headed the rebound wide.

Aguero opened the scoring from point-blank range in the 38th minute and Sane added City's second after latching onto a stunning David Silva through-ball early in the second half.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"Manchester City really do play some delicious football" - @GaryLineker was enjoying what he was watching.

STAR MAN

Silva was at the centre of almost all City's attacking manoeuvres. Having almost grabbed a goal himself in the 38th minute, he crossed for Aguero's opener four minutes later and played a delicious, defence-splitting through-ball to put Sane in for City's second early in the second half.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Defoe fired a fine opportunist strike in the 20th minute which beat City keeper Willy Caballero but rebounded off the base of the post. Defoe's strike came at a point when Sunderland were very much in the ascendency, and might have set a different course for the match. But the visitors survived and from that moment on the momentum swung inexorably in their direction.

VIEW FROM THE BENCH

Caballero was not exactly made to work overtime in the City goal but he still did enough to justify Pep Guardiola's decision to select him in favour of the much more unpredictable Claudio Bravo. Guardiola will have taken plenty of positives out of the way his side withstood early pressure and patiently set about turning the tie their way. Black Cats boss David Moyes will also be pleased with how his side performed for much of the game - but the stark fact is that other results this weekend have left his side six points adrift of securing their top-flight safety.

RATINGS

SUNDERLAND

Jordan Pickford 6

Billy Jones 6

Bryan Oviedo 6

Seb Larsson 7

Fabio Borini 6

John O'Shea 6

Didier Ndong 8

Jermain Defoe 7

Lamine Kone 6

Darron Gibson 5

Adnan Januzaj 6

Substitutes:

Jack Rodwell (for Gibson, 69) 5

Wahbi Khazri (for Januzaj, 82) 5

MANCHESTER CITY

Willy Caballero 7

Bacary Sagna 6

Raheem Sterling 7

Sergio Aguero 8

Aleksandar Kolarov 7

Leroy Sane 8

David Silva 9

Gael Clichy 7

John Stones 6

Fernandino 7

Yaya Toure 7

Substitutes:

Kevin De Bruyne (for Toure, 78) 6

Nolito (for Sterling, 82) 5

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Sunderland v Burnley (Premier League, Mar 18)

Man City v Stoke (Premier League, March 8)

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