Sunderland slipped to their first defeat of the season today, going down 3-0 at defending champions Manchester City.
The Wearsiders’ unbeaten five-game start in the Premier League was ended by goals from Aleksander Kolarov, sub Sergio Aguero and, a minute from time, James Milner.
Kolarov curled a fifth-minute free-kick around the Sunderland wall, following a foul by the recalled Carlos Cuellar on Carlos Tevez, inside Mignolet’s near post, after initially looking as if the effort would go wide.
Sunderland had their moments, but they were sunk by a second goal on the hour mark.
The Black Cats were picked apart too easily – David Silva, on the left of the box, picking out Kolarov’s over-lapping run and the full-back’s centre was brilliantly turned in at the near post by Aguero.
Milner added a third, curling the ball around a two-man wall and straight into the centre of goal – keeper Simon Mignolet being deceived by Craig Gardner’s attempt to head the ball over six yards out but failing to make contact.
Three-nil was probably a fair scoreline on the balance of play but it could have been worse for Sunderland in the dying stages – Mignolet rushing out to make a superb block in the dying seconds to deny Aguero.
* Full report and reaction in tonight’s unmissable Football Echo