Sunderland 1 Man United 2

by James, Junior Black Cats reporter

United comeback downs battling Black Cats.

Sunderland suffered a defeat at the Stadium of Light as Manchester United came out 2-1 winners on Saturday evening.

It was an excellent start for caretaker manager Kevin Ball; taking charge for the third time, with his side scoring after only five minutes.

Emanuele Giaccherini, who has been excellent over the past few games, managed to shuffle his way through some United players before pinging a ball in the box. Both Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic failed to clear their lines, with the latter playing the ball into Craig Gardner’s path and he scored his second goal of the season with a close range pile driver.

Gardner himself could have doubled his and Sunderland’s goal tally barely ten minutes into the game when he robbed Phil Jones of the ball. Running through on goal, the midfielder was in three minds; not sure whether to cross to Altidore, play it across to Giaccherini or have a shot himself. Instead, he did neither and allowed Jones to come in and make a good recovery tackle in front of a bouncing Stadium of Light, filled by 45,500 fans.

Adnan Januzaj, who would make a name for himself later in the game, flashed wide with a long range shot as shell shocked United tried to find their feet. Soon after, Nani came in back post but side footed his effort well wide of Westwood’s goal.

Giaccherini was set up by Johnson twice in the closing stages of the first half and could have put Sunderland in dreamland.

Johnson was set free on the left and played the ball to Giaccherini, who was on the penalty spot. The Italian’s header looked destined for the top corner, but Spaniard David De Gea somehow leapt across his goal and pushed the ball around the post.

Johnson again found himself with space on the left and, after some fancy footwork, chipped the ball to Giaccherini at the far post. The winger failed to capitalize on opportunity, putting the ball into the South Stand.

The second half kicked off and two quick goals from the away side knocked the stuffing out of Sunderland.

Firstly, Evra crossed the ball from the left, pulling the ball back to the penalty spot. Januzaj, who was making his first start in the Premier League, couldn’t believe the space he was in and smartly side footed the ball past Westwood and into the net behind the Irishman.

This 54th minute goal was followed up by a 61st minute winner when Januzaj struck again. Nani’s in-swinging cross was headered away by the ex-United defender O’Shea. However, the ball landed right on the winger’s feet at the back post, smashing a sweetly struck volley across Westwood, ending up in the bottom corner.

The Lads could not get going afterwards and the best chance of the game in the remaining half an hour fell to David Moyes’ side. Substitute Antonio Valencia slipped through Dutchman Robin van Persie, who was in space after O’Shea tried to win the ball, through on goal but. luckily for Sunderland, the striker poked the ball wide.

An international break now allows Sunderland to re-organize ahead of a trip to Swansea City in two weeks time.

Sunderland team: Keiren Westwood, Ondrej Celustka, Jack Colback, John O’Shea, Valentin Roberge, Lee Cattermole, Ki ( Ji), Craig Gardner (Seb Larsson), Adam Johnson (Connor Wickham) and Jozy Altidore.

Subs not used: Cabral, Carlos Cuellar, Vito Mannone and Fabio Borini.

Man Utd team: David De Gea, Patrice Evra, Rafael (Chris Smalling), Phil Jones, Nemanja Vidic, Tom Cleverly, Michael Carrick, Nani (Danny Welbeck), Adnan Januzaj (Antonio Valencia), Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie.

Subs not used: Javier Hernandez, Anders Lindergaard, Shinji Kagawa and Ryan Giggs.