Two goals from set-pieces give Black Cats vital win
A late David De Gea own goal gave Sunderland a 2-1 win over Manchester United this lunch-time at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats went into the game in the bottom three, hoping to go within one point of local-rivals Newcastle United, whilst United knew a win was a must if they wanted to keep their top-four hopes alive.
Despite United being heavily favourites for the game, it took Sunderland just three minutes to open the scoring as a Wahbi Khazri free-kick went directly in from about 30-yards.
Khazri whipped the ball in and it evaded everyone before nestling into the bottom corner past a helpless De Gea, who had a rare bad day in the office for the Red Devils.
A couple of injuries then stalled the game for a couple of minutes apiece, as Sunderland lost Jan Kirchhoff through a hamstring injury, while United lost Matteo Darmian with a suspected dislocated shoulder.
The visitors drew level six-minutes before half-time when Anthony Martial pounced on a fumbled shot to dink over Vito Mannone from a tight angle. It was a smart finish from the Frenchman, but Mannone would have wanted to deal with the initial shot a lot better than he did.
The second half was a quiet affair with neither team creating any clear-cut chances, but after making a couple of camera saves, it was De Gea who lost the game for United as he turned the ball home into his own net.
The corner was whipped in with eight minutes to go, and Lamine Kone found himself unmarked to rocket a header goalwards, only to see the Spaniard turn it into his own net after initially making the save.
That’s how the game ended and it piled further misery and pressure onto Louis van Gaal‘s shoulders.
The win leaves Sunderland in the drop-zone, but only one point off Newcastle, whilst United stay fifth, but are now six points behind Manchester City in fourth, who also have a game in hand.
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce told BT Sport: “Today was very similar to the way the Manchester City game went (which Sunderland lost 1-0) but this time we got what we deserved from the chances we created.
“I thought we might be punished for not taking them and wondered whether it was going to go our way, but it ended up being an unbelievable win for us.”
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney told BT Sport: “We did not create enough chances and were not aggressive enough. We did not win enough second balls and did not defend set-pieces properly, and it has cost us.
“It will be difficult for us to make the top four now, we know that.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt