MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City turned on the style Saturday and kept a clean sheet for the first time in its Premier League title defense, easing to a 3-0 victory over Sunderland.
Aleksandar Kolarov scored from a free kick after five minutes at the Etihad Stadium, and Sergio Aguero and James Milner added goals in the second half to secure a convincing win that reflected City's dominance.
By ending Sunderland's unbeaten start, City maintained its own and won consecutive league matches for the first time this season.
"We played very well and took no risks," City manager Roberto Mancini told Sky Sports television. "To score three goals I am happy for us today ... we are disappointed defensively this season but we are happy with the clean sheet."
The defensive solidity was rediscovered without backline linchpin and captain Vincent Kompany, who was ruled out with a calf injury.
Micah Richards made a surprise return from an ankle injury in his place while Joleon Lescott was also restored to the defense.
Yaya Toure took over as captain, playing alongside Gareth Barry in midfield, while Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli started up front.
Sunderland had former City winger Adam Johnson in their side hoping to make a point, but the England international was unable to make an impression.
City took the lead after Tevez was brought down by Carlos Cuellar on the first attack.
The Argentina striker had broken clear but was felled by a late tackle on the edge of the box and referee Lee Probert brandished the yellow card.
The City supporters felt it should have been red but they did not complain for long as Kolarov stepped up to curl a superb free kick past Simon Mignolet at the near post.
Not for the first time this season, Mario Balotelli was earmarked for some testing treatment by defenders.
The Italy striker held off a challenge to shoot over but was later clumsily brought down by Craig Gardner and was unlucky not to get a free kick.
City went close to a second as a Tevez shot was deflected into Pablo Zabaleta's path but Mignolet saved at point-blank range.