Date: 22nd March 2009 at 6:44pm
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A Micah Richards goal was enough to see off the ten-men of Sunderland. The win moves City up to eight and leaves Sunderland fighting for relegating still!

Thursday UEFA cup extravaganza left many first team regulars out as Hughes was forced to make several changes. The main team news that was announced was that Bulgarian Bojinov was back in the starting line-up and ready for first team action!

As the wind blew down around the City Of Manchester stadium, the match began promisingly for City as within several minutes City had two promising moments. Bojinov showed he`s on the ball as he found Elano, who moved past Sunderland`s midfield before placing a pass which was just to long for Robinho. Within seconds the pair were at it again, with Bojinov dinking the ball to Wright-Phillips who burst into action, and should have scored but his lop over the advancing keeper went inches off target.

City were back on form and producing good football and the game erupted into controversy when Sunderland were reduced to 10 men. A through-ball allowed Wright-Phillips to race towards the box, but as he reached the ball he was pulled back by George McCartney. Referee Tanner was willing to play on, but his assistant flagged and after a discussion between the pair, the free-kick was given but Bojinov narrowly shot wise.

ore drama commenced shortly after when Malbranque brought down Richards in the area, and Tanner needed no discussion with his assistant this time as he pointed to the spot. Up-step Robinho who after a stop-start run up passed the ball into the keepers grasp and the chance went begging.

A Robinho header and a long ranged effort from Jones was all the game had to offer in the short spell after the penalty miss, but it was Wright-Phillips who was still causing the most problems with another long run which concluded with a cross-come-shot which fired past Bojinov before he could get try and meet the ball.

A Malbranque free-kick was the closest Sunderland got in the first half as from the free-kick the ball found its way to Leadbitter who shot straight at the wall. Elano then had a long ranged shot which bounced safely into the keepers arms.

alftime: Manchester City 0 Sunderland 0

The second half started a tad quiet and brightened up after about 10 minutes. Wright-Phillips spurned a good chance when Bojinov and Richards combined well to let the little lad go, but he spooned the ball well over.

Through all City`s dominance the score line remained the same and many City fans started to bite their nails as we have all seen the amount of times City had come away with not after dominating! However this time City finally took home the advantage. Micah Richards leaped ahead of everyone else to meet the cross of Elano`s. Robinho tried his hardest to poke the ball in before it crossed the line but it was not to be as the Englishmen`s header separated the two sides.

From one, to what should have been two. The goal scorer Richards went on a bullet of a run before finding Elano! Elano managed to get past two players, but somehow managed to screw his direction of shot, as it rolled wide of Fulop`s right post.

Bellamy was then brought on to replace the impressive Bojinov. It was guaranteed that Bellamy`s first act would be to get caught off-side.

rom City`s ever lasting pressure, came Sunderland`s off chance and this time they had their hands in the air asking for a penalty. The Sunderland forwards believed that the ball had struck Richard`s arm but replays show that the ball touched the back of his head. However that was the last of Richards we saw, as he limped off and was replaced by Garrido.

s City failed to increase their lead, Sunderland grew in confidence. De Jong managed to acrobatically clear a Cisse Header. Another injury came to fruition when Kompany was replaced by Fernandes who received a booking within minutes of coming on.

City then began to try and secure their lead, with two minutes to. Elano forced a great save out of Fulop after neat work from Bellamy, and then Robinho found himself in two good positions and with the first he chose to lay the shot of to Fernandes whose shot was saved. From the other Robinho chose to shoot himself which Fulop easily saved. A bad day at the office for Robinho who will still go home with hundreds of thousands of pounds, it`s pretty ridiculous really.

Fulltime: Manchester City 1 Sunderland 0.


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