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Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Man City   4 - 3   Sunderland

Roque Santa Cruz scored his second goal and Manchester City's winner
Santa Cruz converts Barry's cross to score his second goal

By Phil Dawkes

Two goals from Roque Santa Cruz helped Manchester City to a narrow victory over resilient 10-man Sunderland in a seven-goal thriller at Eastlands.

Santa Cruz side-footed City into the lead before Carlos Tevez's 12th-minute penalty doubled their advantage.

Goals from John Mensah and Jordan Henderson pulled Sunderland level but Craig Bellamy put City ahead again.

Substitute Kenwyne Jones made it 3-3 but Santa Cruz's second won it for City before Michael Turner was sent off.

The win was vital for City in their quest for a top-four finish after the damaging 3-0 defeat to fellow Champions League aspirants Tottenham on Wednesday, but it still may not be enough to save manager Mark Hughes his job.

Morning reports suggested that the Welshman may be relieved of his duties regardless of the result, with the Eastlands money men apparently bereft of patience and keen to employ someone they believe can give them a greater return on their vast outlay.

Hughes needed a convincing performance from his team in his bid to push his case for continued employment.

However, despite claiming the points, this was the same fallible City that have proven to be less than the sum of their expensive parts throughout the season.

In response to their failure at White Hart Lane, Hughes dropped two of his most valuable assets, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robinho and brought in Santa Cruz and Bellamy.

Bruce 'disappointed' to hear Hughes rumours

It is a testimony to Hughes that the replacements were at the forefront of all that was good about City's performance.

After just four minutes, Tevez carried the ball into the Sunderland half before freeing Bellamy down the left with a superbly weighted pass.

The Welsh striker opted for a first-time cross, which was easily dispatched into the net by Santa Cruz for his first league goal in City colours.

The attacking trio combined again in the 12th minute to double the home side's lead.

Santa Cruz played a neat one-two with Bellamy, who was then felled by Sunderland defender Nyron Nosworthy for a penalty.

Tevez was made to wait by some unnecessary jostling on the edge of the box, but he his nerve held to dispatch the spot-kick down the middle of the goal.

Unfortunately for City, and their manager, their potency at one end was matched by ineptitude at the other.

Just four minutes after seemingly taking firm control of the match, they gifted the visitors a route back in.

Sunderland have suffered an inconsistent run similar to their hosts of late, having claimed only five of the last 24 points available to them.

However, theirs is also an expensively assembled squad with enough talent to hurt the best of sides - and in an eight-minute spell they ruthlessly exposed City's fallibility.


Andy Reid was afforded space on the left, and his superb inswinging cross found Mensah, completely unmarked eight yards out, to head home.

Minutes later, the visitors were level when City centre-back Kolo Toure made a hash of clearing a corner, allowing Henderson to smash the ball past Shay Given from 14 yards.

City's defence was already weakened by the absence of Joleon Lescott and Wayne Bridge, and it was further diminished by the loss of Micah Richards, due to an ankle injury sustained in the build-up to Mensah's goal.

That City ended the half ahead is thanks to the ability of their forwards and Bellamy in particular.

Pablo Zabaleta, who replaced Richards, chipped forward for Shaun Wright-Phiilips, whose cross was allowed to run along the edge of the area before Bellamy collected and then curled into the far corner of the net.

However, Sunderland were dogged in their determination to get something from the game, and on the hour they superbly fashioned another equaliser.

Nosworthy neatly fed Henderson in space on the right, and from his cross substitute Jones got ahead of Vincent Kompany to head in from six yards.

City, though, have paid a premium to amass the attacking talent with which to win tight matches, and with 20 minutes to go they struck the telling blow.

From inside the Sunderland half, Zabaleta swept a pass forward that found Barry unmarked, and his short toe-poked cross was converted by Santa Cruz from close range.

And Sunderland's hopes of launching a sustained final push were thwarted when Turner was shown a straight red card by referee Andre Mariner for an elbow on Barry.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce:

"The red card was obscene. It was two players competing for the ball. A centre-half going up to win it and I'd expect him to go up and win it.

"He's going to miss three games unless the referee has got the guts to rescind it.

"For the spirit and commitment of the players we deserved something but unfortunately we didn't get it."

Live text and stats


Saturday, 19 December 2009

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Man City 4-3 Sunderland FT
(HT 3-2)
  • Santa Cruz 4
  • Tevez (pen) 12
  • Bellamy 35
  • Santa Cruz 69
  • Mensah 16
  • Henderson 24
  • Jones 62

Man City




Ref: MarrinerAtt: 44,735


  • Man City 49%
  • Sunderland 51%

Attempts on target

  • Man City 5
  • Sunderland 5

Attempts off target

  • Man City 6
  • Sunderland 2


  • Man City 6
  • Sunderland 4


  • Man City 13
  • Sunderland 8
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+5:52 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
  • 90:00+5:30 The offside flag is raised against Martin Petrov. Marton Fulop restarts play with the free kick.
  • 90:00+4:54 Short corner taken by Martin Petrov.
  • 90:00+1:35 Direct free kick taken by Carlos Tevez.
  • 90:00+1:35 Sent off Michael Turner receives a red card for violent conduct.
  • 90:00+1:18 Unfair challenge on Gareth Barry by Michael Turner results in a free kick.
  • 87:55 Kolo Toure takes the direct free kick.
  • 87:55 Booking Booking for Lee Cattermole for unsporting behaviour.
  • Correction - 87:48 Lee Cattermole gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Barry.
  • 87:48 awarded for an unfair challenge on Gareth Barry by Lee Cattermole.
  • 85:54 George McCartney takes the direct free kick.
  • 85:54 Substitution Martin Petrov comes on in place of Craig Bellamy.
  • 85:54 Vincent Kompany gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kenwyne Jones.
  • 84:26 Corner taken left-footed by Gareth Barry.
  • 84:03 Stephen Ireland takes a shot. Marton Fulop makes a save.
  • 79:27 Roque Santa Cruz concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Cattermole. Direct free kick taken by George McCartney.
  • 78:34 Vincent Kompany has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.
  • 77:30 Direct free kick taken by Kolo Toure.
  • 77:30 Booking Nyron Nosworthy is cautioned.
  • 77:07 Nyron Nosworthy concedes a free kick for a foul on Vincent Kompany.
  • 76:31 Roque Santa Cruz challenges Michael Turner unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by George McCartney.
  • 75:59 Substitution John Mensah goes off and David Healy comes on.
  • 75:46 Jordan Henderson produces a right-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.
  • 73:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by John Mensah on Roque Santa Cruz. A cross is delivered by Gareth Barry, Vincent Kompany takes a shot.
  • 70:57 Vincent Kompany takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.
  • 68:48 Gareth Barry provided the assist for the goal.
  • 68:48 GOAL - Roque Santa CruzMan City 4 - 3 Sunderland Goal scored by Roque Santa Cruz from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man City 4-3 Sunderland.
  • 67:10 Marton Fulop takes the direct free kick.
  • 67:10 Booking Pablo Zabaleta booked.
  • 67:06 Pablo Zabaleta concedes a free kick for a foul on Darren Bent.
  • 66:42 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kenwyne Jones on Nedum Onuoha. Direct free kick taken by Vincent Kompany.
  • 66:21 Darren Bent gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kolo Toure. Kolo Toure takes the direct free kick.
  • 65:48 Pablo Zabaleta produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.
  • 65:09 Darren Bent is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Pablo Zabaleta.
  • 63:02 Booking Shay Given is shown a yellow card.
  • 61:58 Assist by Jordan Henderson.
  • 61:58 GOAL - Kenwyne JonesMan City 3 - 3 Sunderland Kenwyne Jones scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Man City 3-3 Sunderland.
  • 58:43 Free kick taken by Marton Fulop.
  • 58:43 Substitution Fraizer Campbell goes off and Kieran Richardson comes on.
  • 58:43 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on George McCartney by Carlos Tevez.
  • 57:04 Unfair challenge on Andy Reid by Stephen Ireland results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Andy Reid.
  • 56:28 Foul by Pablo Zabaleta on Andy Reid, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by George McCartney.
  • 55:38 Effort from outside the penalty box by Craig Bellamy goes wide right of the goal.
  • 55:20 Corner taken by Gareth Barry from the right by-line, Kenwyne Jones makes a clearance.
  • 55:07 Carlos Tevez takes a shot. Save made by Marton Fulop.
  • 51:53 Substitution Vincent Kompany comes on in place of Shaun Wright-Phillips.
  • 51:41 Kenwyne Jones takes a shot.
  • 48:36 The assistant referee signals for offside against Carlos Tevez. Marton Fulop restarts play with the free kick.
  • 47:18 Unfair challenge on Stephen Ireland by Lee Cattermole results in a free kick. Nedum Onuoha takes the free kick.
  • Correction - 45:46 Short corner taken by Gareth Barry from the right by-line.
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Premier League table

Saturday, 19 December 2009 19:35 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Premier League table
1 Chelsea 17 28 40
2 Man Utd 18 20 37
3 Arsenal 17 24 35
4 Aston Villa 18 15 35
5 Tottenham 18 18 33
6 Man City 17 6 29
7 Liverpool 18 9 27
8 Birmingham 17 1 27
9 Fulham 17 6 26
10 Sunderland 18 -3 21
11 Stoke 17 -5 21
12 Burnley 17 -14 19
13 Blackburn 18 -15 19
14 Wigan 17 -18 18
15 Everton 16 -8 17
16 Hull 18 -20 17
17 Bolton 16 -10 16
18 Wolves 17 -16 16
19 West Ham 17 -9 14
20 Portsmouth 18 -9 14

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