City started the game on the front foot as expected and they carved out the first chance of the game after 2 mins. Jovetic found space on the left side and took an early shot, but it sailed high and wide.
Sunderland struggled to get any sort of foothold early on in the game however Pantilimon was basically a spectator as City couldn’t break down the Sunderland defence. But the Black Cats were nearly undone from a set piece on 20 mins as Silva shot wide after a goal line scramble ensued from a quickly taken corner.
City dominated possession with Sunderland prepared to sit back with a bank of nine players protecting the area and this was limiting City to long range efforts with Silva going the closest on 31 mins as he stung the hands of Pantilimon and Clichy shot the rebound wide.
But after soaking up all the first half pressure it was Sunderland who could have taken an unlikely lead on 40 mins. A counter attack led to Gomez being fouled 25 yards out, and this gave Larsson an opportunity from a free kick which looked like it was curling into the bottom corner but it was well saved low to the right by Caballero.
The deadlock was finally broken on 56 mins through Yaya Toure. Clichy ran down the left and his cut back was met by Toure who struck a blistering shot from outside the box into the top corner giving Pantilimon no chance.
The second goal wasn’t long in coming and it came via Jovetic on 66 mins. Again Clichy ran down the left and his low cross was back healed past Pantilimon after Jovetic wasn’t tracked by a static Sunderland defence.
Sunderland got themselves straight back into the game 2 mins later as Larsson’s corner was met by City old boy Jack Rodwell who glanced his header into the far corner.
And Sunderland made it 2-2 on 71 mins after they were awarded a penalty after Zabaleta took out Billy Jones as he was about to hit a rebound after Alvarez’s cross was cleared off the line. Adam Johnson sent Caballero the wrong way.
But unfortunately Sunderland’s parity only lasted 90 seconds as again a cross from the left side wasn’t closed down and Frank Lampard was there unmarked to nod in past Pantilimon to put City back in front.
The game was completely stretched now and City could have added to their account with Lampard forcing a tremendous save from Pantilimon and not long after Pantilimon had to race out to deny Toure. Sunderland kept pushing forward and they were nearly undone again from a counter attack as Navas was put through one on one with Pantilimon but was denied the fourth goal by a great stop by the Romanian.
City couldn’t finish off the Black Cats as Pantilimon made a host of saves, again saving from Lampard, who could’ve had a hat trick and from Fernandinho who was denied from point blank range by the outstanding Pantilimon.
It was a valiant effort from the Black Cats but to no avail as City hold on to claim the three points.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Caballero, Zabaleta, Mangala, Demichelis, Clichy, Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri (Kolarov 85’), Silva (Milner 89’), Navas, Jovetic (Lampard 69’).
Subs: Hart, Kolarov, Boyata, Milner, Sagna, Lampard, Sinclair.
Goals: Toure 56’ Jovetic 66’ Lampard 73’
Sunderland (4-3-3): Pantilimon, Vergini (Coates 77’), Jones, Brown, O'Shea (c), Rodwell, Larsson, Gomez (Giaccherini 58’), Johnson, Buckley (Alvarez 65’), Wickham.
Subs: Mannone, Coates, Cabral, Alvarez, Giaccherini, Fletcher, Altidore.
Goals: Rodwell 68’ Johnson 71’