Sunderland 1 Man City 0

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Johnson scores Boxing Day winner.

Sunderland toppled champions Manchester City on Wearside as Adam Johnson scored a Boxing Day winner against his former club.

Johnson blasted home a 30-yard shot from out wide eight minutes into the second half to hand Black Cats fans everywhere a belated Christmas present.

Spotting City keeper Joe Hart out of position, Johnson cashed in with a sublime effort as Sunderland inflicted only the Manchester club's second league defeat this season.

And what's more, they were full value for it. From keeper Simon Mignolet – who was faultless – outwards, Sunderland were the hungrier of the two teams and created the better chances, especially late on.

The win is Sunderland's third home victory in a row over City, who had plenty of possession but couldn't break down a determined Sunderland side who would've demolished brick walls to get the win.

Martin O'Neill's men have now won three of their last four games and the Stadium of Light chief will have been delighted with his side's commitment, craft and guile.

O'Neill was forced to make a change ahead of the game as he replaced the ill John O'Shea with Matt Kilgallon in his only change from the win at Southampton.

Sunderland made a bright start in front of a bumper crowd but it was City who came closest in the early stages.

They almost took the lead after just eight minutes when captain Vincent Kompany headed against the crossbar from a corner.

And, as the rebound spun loose, Yaya Toure popped up to power a low drive towards goal only for a sprawling Mignolet to block the ball with his legs.

Toure tried his luck again soon afterwards, bending a lofted shot towards the far corner only to see Mignolet take the catch well.

Sunderland's keeper was certainly the busier of the two custodians as he denied City again 24 minutes in, blocking a close-range shot from David Silva down low following good work from the tricky Sergio Aguero.

But Sunderland weren't cowed and Hart was in action at the other end just seconds later, tipping brilliantly wide after Steven Fletcher's low drive from 20 yards looked set to find the corner of the goal.

O'Neill's men were giving it absolutely everything as they pushed and harried City all over the park while attempting to cut off the supply lines to Carlos Tevez and Aguero.

It was real end-to-end stuff and Sunderland came closest to a goal in the remainder of the first half as Stephane Sessegnon headed Craig Gardner's cross wide.

The hosts were working their socks well and truly off and were rewarded with a remarkable opener eight minutes into the second half.

There seemed few options when Johnson received the ball on the right 30 yards out, but he'd seen Hart out of position and launched a shot goalwards.

The City keeper looked like getting across in time, but although he got a touch on the ball he couldn't prevent it squirming from his grasp and inside the foot of the post.

Rooted with shock, Johnson couldn't quite believe the ball had gone in, but he soon woke up to the fact as an explosion of noise shook the Stadium of Light.

The goal galvanised Sunderland even further and they could have doubled their lead when Sessegnon surged through the middle only to pull his shot wide with Hart advancing.

There was still work to do at the other end, though, as Aguero wriggled through down the right and bore down on goal, but there was Mignolet once again to pull off a fantastic block.

Repeated City attacks washed up against a red and white wall as Sunderland defended for their lives, roared on by one of the most vociferous crowds seen at the Stadium of Light in a long time.

The visitors couldn't find a way through and it was Sunderland who looked the most likely to score in the remaining minutes.

Sub Fraizer Campbell sent Sessegnon clear with a sublime through ball 10 minutes from time, but Hart was alert to the danger and advanced quickly to block the forward's shot.

And James McClean piled forward with time running out only to fire just wide of Hart's right-hand post.

O'Neill's men were forced to redouble their defensive efforts during a nerve-jangling four minutes of added time, but they held the line superbly with the excellent Mignolet leading from the front.

And the final whistle sparked incredible scenes as players and fans alike heralded a remarkable effort to down the champions.

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Team Sheet

Mignolet
22
Cuéllar
24
Rose (Bardsley)
3
Gardner
8
Kilgallon
12
Larsson (Campbell)
7
Yellow Colback
14
McClean
23
Johnson
21
Sessegnon
28
Fletcher
26
Hart
1
Kompany Yellow
4
Zabaleta
5
Nastasic Yellow
33
Touré (Barry)
28
Silva
21
Touré Yellow
42
Milner
7
García Fernández (Lescott)
14
Agüero
16
Tévez (Dzeko)
32

Substitutes

Wickham
10
Bardsley
2
Vaughan
15
Bramble
19
Campbell
9
McFadden
11
Westwood
20
Lescott
6
Pantilimon
30
Barry
18
Dzeko
10
Sinclair
11
Rekik
44
Razak
62