Eriksson hails Man City matchwinner Ireland

Simon Ireland was outstanding in Manchester City's 2-1 defeat of Reading.

For the second time in three games, the Republic of Ireland midfielder came up with a dramatic winner.

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Ireland, 21, stunned Reading in stoppage time with a superb volley to seal a 2-1 victory for City.

It followed his strike in the defeat of Sunderland at the beginning of the month.

He celebrated that effort by displaying his 'Superman' shorts to the nation. This time he stayed fully dressed - and it was Reading who were left stripped of two points after City's 2-1 victory. The goal came after Sun Jihai launched a long ball, which was headed on by Georgios Samaras.

Geovanni was quick to react and fed Ireland, whose finish was emphatic. Eriksson said: "It was a great goal from Stephen. Samaras played his part as did Geovanni.

"I did not expect it, especially as Geovanni had missed a great chance just a minute earlier.

"Stephen is playing better and better, which is fantastic.

"He was like a second striker near the end. Maybe that is his best position.

"Stephen is young, talented and has a long career in front of him."

City now move to within a point of Manchester United after stretching their 100% home record to eight games.

Why they are so difficult to beat at Eastlands is no secret, according to Eriksson.

He said: "We have a good team and that is important.

"Of course you need a little bit of luck but the players worked hard until the end and got their reward. The spirit is good.

"Reading made it difficult for us. We started the match well then lost our rhythm.

"I was not surprised when their goal came but we deserved to get the victory."

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