Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 1: Raheem Sterling strike the difference at St James's Park

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero

A goal from Raheem Sterling condemned Newcastle United to a fifth successive home defeat.

Sterling's first-half goal gave Premier League leaders Manchester City a hard-fought 1-0 win at St James's Park tonight.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

The result leaves Newcastle 15th in the division ahead of Saturday's home game against Brighton and Hove Albion.

City – who have only dropped two points all season – moved 15 points clear at the top of the league.

United manager Rafa Benitez had made five changes for the game.

Rolando Aarons, Paul Dummett, Chancel Mbemba, Jacob Murphy and Jonjo Shelvey all came into the starting XI.

Newcastle, playing five at the back, spent much of the first half camped in their own half.

Sterling finally broke their resistance in the 31st minute with a left-footed shot after Kevin De Bruyne found him in the box.

Aarons had a chipped shot headed off the line by Nicolas Otamendi before the break.

There was more pressure from City in the second half, but United stayed in the game.

And Benitez's side, roared on by a sell-out crowd, created a series of late chances.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles, Mbemba (Merino, 78), Dummett, Manquillo; Murphy, Diame, Shelvey, Aarons (Atsu, 71); Joselu (Gayle, 62). Subs not used: Darlow, Clark, Ritchie, Perez.

MANCHESTER CITY: Ederson, Walker, Kompany (Jesus, 11), Otamendi, Danilo, Fernandinho, Bernardo (Sane, 82), De Bruyne, Gundogan, Sterling, Aguero (Mangala, 77). Subs not used: Bravo, Adarabioyo, Yaya Toure, Diaz.

Goal: Sterling 31

Booking: Gayle 76

Referee: Andy Marriner (West Midlands)

Attendance: 52,311