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.
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 remains six points adrift of Norwich with a game in hand, but they should have departed this evening with three points.