Premier League - City escape with draw courtesy of Mannone

Premier League, Etihad Stadium - Manchester City 2 (Fernandinho 2, Nasri 88) Sunderland 2 (Wickham 73, 83)

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Premier League - City escape with draw courtesy of Mannone
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Manchester City's Samir Nasri rues a missed chance late in the game (PA Photos)

Manchester City needed an awful error by Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone to gift them a point in a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

Manuel Pellegrini's third-placed side are six points behind leaders Liverpool having played one game less, but they probably deserved nothing from a match that saw Gus Poyet's relegation-haunted side impress from early on.

Fernandinho galloped onto a ball from Sergio Aguero after an intelligent Alvaro Negrdo step-over to drive the opening goal into the net on two minutes, but the visiting side always looked sharper and they moved ahead with seven minutes remaining courtesy of two expert finishes by Connor Wickham (73, 83).

The game looked up for City for the evening - and perhaps for their title hopes - but Samir Nasri rescued the home side when Italian Mannone somehow managed to spill his shot from 12 yards on 88 minutes before seeing the ball creep agonisingly over the line.

It may prove to be a hammer blow to Sunderland's hopes of survival, but it could have got worse for Poyet and the Black Cats with City almost finding the winner when Nasri clipped the ball over the bar with Mannone well beaten.

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It still did not prevent Mannone looking close to tears at the end after a draw that does neither side any favours at the top and bottom end of the table. Sunderland remain six points adrift of Norwich with a game in hand, but they should have departed this evening with three points.

KEY MOMENTS

2' - FERNANDINHO WITH THE OPENING GOAL: Fernandinho slams the ball beyond Mannone. Cattermole lost the ball. Lovely pass by Aguero. Step over by Negredo. A 1-0 lead for City.

72' - HART SAVES CITY: Colback sees the shot blocked by Hart from the Johnson pass. City almost cut wide open, but they manage to survive. Nervous moments for City out there.

73' - WICKHAM BRINGS BLACK CATS LEVEL: Wickham tucks the ball into the net from a gorgeous cross by Giaccherini. Brilliant move and finish. 1-1 now. Would you believe this?

83' - WICKHAM GIVES SUNDERLAND THE LEAD: Wickham smashes the ball into the corner of the net after a brilliant break and pass from Emanuele Giaccherini. Hart couldn't make the stop. A 2-1 lead for Sunderland. Suddenly three points on the cards for the Premier League's bottom club.

88' - NASRI EQUALISER: Nasri drives the ball straight at Mannone, who fumbles the ball before it wriggles out of his grasp and rolls into the net. Astonishing error by the Sunderland goalkeeper. 2-2.

89' - NASRI CHANCE TO WIN IT: Ball spins into the path of Nasri, but he clips over from eight yards out with the goal gaping. Should have been the third for City. Breathless finish to this contest.

KEY STATS

Man City drop points for only the second time at home in the Premier League this season - they previously lost 1-0 to Chelsea in February.

Man City’s dropped points mean that a draw between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield would no longer put the title race back into Man City’s hands (depending on results this weekend).

Sunderland end a four-match losing streak in Premier League away matches.

Fernandinho's goal (1m 52s) is Man City's third-fastest this season, after scoring in the first minute on two occasions previously - Navas against Spurs on 24 Nov (13s), and Dzeko against Man Utd on 25 March (44s).

Connor Wickham scored more goals tonight (2) than he had previously managed in his entire Premier League career so far (1).

Infostrada

TALKING POINT: Is it over for City in this year's title race? Still in there. If they win their game in hand, they will be three points behind Liverpool. But they have suddenly gone third favourites for the title only three days after they looked like they were set for all three points at Anfield. Has that 3-2 loss at Anfield damaged them? Perhaps, but what is of more concern is how City adapt when they are without Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. Aguero lasted an hour, and is not match-fit while Toure and Silva were both injured. Without those three, it was a subdued and predictable performance from the home side.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND MATCH STATS

PLAYER RATINGS

Manchester City: Hart 6, Zabaleta 6, Kompany 6, Demichelis 6, Kolarov 6, Milner 6, Garcia 5, Fernandinho 5, Nasri 6, Aguero 5, Negredo 5..subs: Rodwell 6, Dzeko 6, Jovetic 6.

Sunderland: Mannone 4, Vergini 6, Alonso 6, Brown 7, O'Shea 7, Cattermole 6, Colback 6, Larsson 6, Johnson 6, Borini 7, Wickham 8..subs: Giaccherini 7, Scocco 7.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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