Premier League: Frank Lampard grabs winner as Manchester City beat Sunderland 3-2
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 01/01/15 8:10pm
Frank Lampard came off the bench to score the winner as Manchester City beat Sunderland 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium after a dramatic period that saw five goals in 17 minutes.
Yaya Toure unleashed a 25-yard stunner to open the scoring in the 57th minute after City had struggled to break Sunderland down during a dire first half.
City were two up after Stevan Jovetic started and ended a neat move with a flick at the near post, before Sunderland's Jack Rodwell halved the deficit with a header against his former club.
Adam Johnson, another ex-City man, equalised from the penalty spot after Billy Jones was brought down by Pablo Zabaleta, but substitute Lampard - whose services on loan have now been secured until the end of the season - headed in for the game’s fifth goal to hand City all three points.
It took City nearly 35 minutes to test former goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, David Silva’s fizzing effort from 25 yards was being batted away by the Romanian.
That half-chance came after Silva had pulled wide from a good position 15 yards out as City registered all the possession but no cutting edge.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini brought in Willy Cabellero at the expense of England No 1 Joe Hart, and it was the Argentine who made the best save in the first 45 minutes.
After Pablo Zabaleta brought down Jordi Gomez just outside the area during a rare Sunderland attack, Sebastian Larsson’s set-piece was pushed away well by Cabellero.
The second half came to life after Toure’s stunning opener, the Ivorian letting fly from outside the penalty area to give Pantilimon no chance in the Sunderland goal.
And City were soon two up, Jovetic offloading to Gael Clichy down the left before the Frenchman returned the favour to find the Montenegrin six yards out. He duly knocked the ball past Pantilimon with a fine flick.
Sunderland immediately found a way back into the game, halving the deficit after Rodwell flicked on a Larsson corner to give Caballero no chance.
City hit the post through the impressive Jesus Navas, but the game was level again moments later after Billy Jones was brought down by Zabaleta inside the area, with Johnson sending Caballero the wrong way from the spot.
But substitute Lampard found a yard in between two Sunderland defenders after 73 minutes to head into the corner of Pantilimon’s goal from Clichy’s cross.
City had several opportunities to add to their lead after Lampard’s goal, but Pantilimon denied Lampard from a volley, Fernandinho from close range and Navas from a tight angle.
Soccer Saturday verdict – Paul Merson
“For 56 minutes, this game was terrible. It was slow and so lethargic. I couldn’t see there being a goal and then Yaya Toure hit one into the top corner from 25 yards out and at 2-0 I thought that was it. Two ex-Man City players then scored for Sunderland and you think that’s it for Man City before Frank Lampard came on. What a header. He put the ball exactly where it should be. Sunderland were out on their feet in the end, but if you ever want to see a team defend how they should defend then you should look at Sunderland in the first half.”
Man City: Caballero (7), Zabaleta (6), Mangala (6), Demichelis (6), Clichy (7), Yaya Toure (8), Fernandinho (6), Nasri (7), Silva (6), Navas (8), Jovetic (7)
Subs: Kolarov (6), Milner (6), Lampard (7)
Sunderland: Pantilimon (7), Vergini (6), Jones (6), Brown (6), O'Shea (6), Rodwell (6), Larsson (6), Gomez (6), Johnson (6), Buckley (6), Wickham (5)
Subs: Coates (6), Giaccherini (6), Alvarez (6)
Man of the match: Yaya Toure