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Wright-Phillips makes perfect return to City

SoccerNews in English Premier League 31 Aug 2008


Shaun Wright-Phillips celebrated his 8.5-million-pound return to Manchester City with a double in Sunday's 3-0 win at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

Back at Eastlands after a frustrating three year spell with Chelsea the 26-year-old winger struck twice in the space of eight second half minutes after Steven Ireland had put Mark Hughes' side into a first half injury time lead.

Wright-Phillips, who has signed a four year contract, moved back to City with one aim – to boost his England credentials and this performance will certainly not have damaged his standing with Fabio Capello.

Sunday's match united two former Manchester United teammates in Hughes and Sunderland manager Roy Keane.

Djibril Cisse, who produced a goal on his first start for his new club in last week's 2-1 upset of Spurs, was making his home debut for Sunderland.

Also in Keane's starting line-up was Steed Malbranque, back after an ankle injury, and Kieran Richardson and Grant Leadbitter in place of Daryl Murphy and Dean Whitehead.

Manchester City, fresh from their UEFA Cup penalty heroics in midweek, handed a debut to Wright-Phillips. Vincent Kompany and Dietmar Hamann were also back in the side while Martin Petrov was sidelined.

Sunderland were quickly into their stride and almost grabbed an 11th minute goal when Pascal Chimbonda's deflected cross bounced off the bar.

City were fortunate to escape again in the 45th minute when El-Hadji Diouf snuck in a header at the far post only for the ball to flirt with the goalmouth.

Then largely against the run of play City broke the stalemate.

Sunderland's Danny Collins was inadvertently responsible for the goal when the Wales defender blocked a cross from the right. The ball fell straight at the feet of Ireland who shot past keeper Craig Gordon.

Micah Richards, who was knocked unconscious after a clash of heads in City's 3-0 drubbing of West Ham last week, picked up a knock in the first period and was replaced by Tal Ben-Haim at the start of the second half.

On 50 minutes Wright-Phillips then capped his return to his old club with City's second goal.

Helped in no small way by some lax defending the unmarked winger side-footed the ball past Gordon after Jo's initial effort spun across the goalline.

Eight minutes later Wright-Phillips killed off the game with a deft touch, allowing Michael Ball's long pass to bounce one before flicking the ball past Gordon with the edge of his right boot.

A distinctly unhappy-looking Keane responded by making a triple substitution – hauling off Cisse, Diouf and Leadbetter and bringing on Anthony Stokes, David Healy and Daryl Murphy.

But the damage was done with City jumping up into second and Sunderland slipping to one off the bottom.


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