Adam Johnson’s dramatic late equaliser on Sunday drew huge sighs of relief all around from City’s contingent, but in particular from one team-mate thwarted by the outstanding Craig Gordon.
Roque Santa Cruz saw Sunderland’s Scottish stopper deny him early in the second half, so he was as pleased as anyone when the young winger’s shot curled into the top corner in stoppage time.
Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tevez also saw the home side’s keeper keep it at 1-0 to Steve Bruce’s side until time added on, by which time City’s Paraguayan striker thought that Blues were never going to break through.
Roque said: “When we had chance after chance it was of my mind that it was going to be one of those days where it didn’t matter how many chances we were going to get, nobody would score!
Fortunately Adam wasn’t thinking like that and we were very glad when he grabbed that goal. It was a draw, not what we expected but it’s a point that could be very valuable to us and we’ll just have to keep working hard.
...Roque Santa Cruz
“It’s better not to lose for team morale, and we played a great game in the second half. But until Adam scored we just could not break them down and it was very hard to take. It was not like it was just one player who didn’t take his chances, it was several of us so in the end it was a great point.”
The Blues had not troubled Gordon before half time, and Roque says the break allowed City to rethink their approach to good effect.
“Everybody knew that the first half was not good enough” he admits, “and not what we expect from this team. After half time we all tried to get involved a lot more, and then with that extra 10% everything worked out better for us. Nobody can keep it going for all of the 90 minutes, Sunderland had done well by pressing us and not letting us play, but in the second half we dictated the game.
“Their keeper had a fantastic game, he was saving everything we were throwing at him and on another day we would have scored four or five goals. It’s also important that at least we are always making these chances, all our strikers were involved in the game and it shows that we were doing the right thing.”