Manchester City moved into third place and deepened Sunderland’s Premier League relegation fears with a 2-0 win at the Stadium of Light.
Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane scored the goals as Pep Guardiola’s side moved three points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand.
Sunderland began the match at a frantic pace and engineered the first chance after only six minutes.
It came when Didier Ndong won possession and a Fabio Borini shot deflected off Aleksandar Kolarov and fell for Billy Jones, who was just unable to find Jermain Defoe in the middle.
Two minutes later, Sane got away from a pack of Sunderland defenders on the left but could not pick out Sergio Aguero.
Visitors City were beginning to take a stranglehold on possession and Sunderland were nearly made to pay when John O’Shea and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford got in a muddle over a low cross before Pickford grabbed the ball.
But after 20 minutes, Sunderland were within a whisker of opening the scoring as Defoe turned and shot from the edge of the area, with the ball coming back off the post and Borini only able to head a difficult rebound wide.
O’Shea was booked for a tug on Sergio Aguero’s shirt before the action again switched to the other end and another Jones cross was turned away for a corner that was met by Jones, who headed straight at Willy Caballero.
City should have led on 38 minutes when Sane got away down the left but got far too much pace on his cross, which skipped away from the waiting David Silva when he should have been presented with a tap-in.
But they did after 41 minutes when Yaya Toure carried the ball forward and Silva played in Sterling, who crossed low for Aguero to finish.
And they doubled that lead after 59 minutes they did, when Silva waited before feeding the ball to Sane, who raced away from his defender and fired the ball home via the inside of the far post.
Caballero saved from Seb Larsson moments later as Sunderland looked for a quick response, but City were in total control as Sunderland failed to cut the six-point gap between themselves and safety.
Defoe headed home late on, but the offside flag was already up, while Aguero nearly added a third for City but was denied by a fine Pickford stop.