Manchester United 0 Sunderland 1

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Larsson goal secures first league win at Old Trafford since '68.

Seb Larsson struck the winner as Sunderland sealed three priceless points in fine style at Manchester United.

The Black Cats notched their first league win at Old Trafford since 1968 to move three points clear of the relegation zone with a superior goal difference.

The result, combined with others elsewhere, saw Fulham and Cardiff relegated to the Championship as Sunderland continued to boost their own survival hopes.

Larsson's cool volley on the half-hour proved to be the decider - and Gus Poyet's side were most certainly good value for their third win in four games.

Allied to considerable defensive steel, the visitors were a threat on the counter-attack and rattled the post and the crossbar in the second half.

The final whistle was greeted by scenes of unbridled joy in the away end as Sunderland's remarkable run continues.

Poyet's side have been red hot, adding their Old Trafford win to victories over Chelsea and Cardiff, as well as a draw at Manchester City to make it 10 points from four matches.

They successfully short-circuited the momentum generated by Ryan Giggs' caretaker appointment at Old Trafford and Larsson's well-taken goal was a fine way to win any match.

Given his side's run of form, it came as no surprise to see Poyet keep faith with the same starting line-up for the fourth successive game, having seen Sunderland beat Cardiff 4-0 last time out.

United went into the game on the back of a win by the same scoreline – against Norwich – and saw plenty of the ball early on in Giggs' second game in charge.

They created the first half-chance after nine minutes, with Juan Mata shanking a shot wide from the edge of the box after the excellent Wes Brown had hacked away an Ashley Young cross.

At the other end, Adam Johnson curled off-target after good work from Santiago Vergini.

United were doing the early pressing as John O'Shea saw his sliced clearance from Michael Carrick's delivery drop narrowly wide of the far post – though the defender's intervention turned out to be key with Javier Hernandez well placed just behind him.

Meanwhile Nani fired just over the top after latching on to Carrick's mis-hit, while Vito Mannone stayed alert to gather a close-range header from Patrice Evra almost on the goal-line following a corner.

But Sunderland soaked up the pressure and hit back in style to take the lead with a well-worked goal on the half-hour.

Connor Wickham did brilliantly to keep possession under pressure down the right and his cross picked out the unmarked Larsson, who planted a fine volley into the far corner past a full-stretch David de Gea.

The goal stunned Old Trafford into near-silence and Sunderland saw out the remainder of the half in relative comfort, with Mannone only called into action to claim Mata's well-struck shot from just outside the box shortly before the interval.

United, looking for a way back into the game, were up and about in the early stages of the second half, with Brown hammering away a dangerous Evra cross before Nemanja Vidic headed wide when well placed eight yards out.

Poyet replaced Johnson with the in-form Emanuele Giaccherini just before the hour as United pressed, with Phil Jones' wayward shot forced back across goal at the far post before the visiting defence managed to scramble the ball away.

Wickham then made way for Jozy Altidore, and the big American was so close to laying on a second goal for the Black Cats 18 minutes from time as the visitors finished much the stronger of the two teams.

A neat exchange of passes resulted in a super low cross from the striker, and the unmarked Giaccherini beat de Gea with a low shot only to see the ball strike the post and run back into play.

Jack Colback had stolen in around the back to meet the rebound, but the angle was just too tight and the midfielder's shot bulged only the side-netting.

Sub Robin van Persie then touched a right-wing cross narrowly wide at the other end just a minute after Giaccherini had hit the post.

However, United struggled for inspiration against a determined, organised and above all confident Sunderland side, who introduced Liam Bridcutt for the industrious Larsson with 16 minutes to play.

United subs Danny Welbeck blazed over as the clock ticked into the last 15 minutes, while Hernandez wasted a good chance when he snatched at his volley, skying the effort into the Stretford End after being picked out by Evra.

With United running out of steam, Sunderland finished on the front foot and were denied by the woodwork again five minutes from time.

A flowing passing move resulted in Fabio Borini cutting onto his left foot just inside the area and curling in a shot which rattled the crossbar with a beaten de Gea motionless.

It didn't matter in the end, though, as Sunderland comfortably saw out four minutes of stoppage time to seal a famous win.

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Team Sheet

de Gea
1
Evra
3
Yellow Vidic
15
Ferdinand
5
Jones
4
Fletcher
24
Young (Welbeck)
18
Almeida da Cunha (Januzaj)
17
Mata (van Persie)
8
Yellow Carrick
16
Hernández
14
Mannone
25
Alonso Yellow
28
O'Shea
16
Vergini
27
Brown
5
Cattermole
33
Larsson (Bridcutt)
7
Colback
14
Borini
31
Johnson (Giaccherini)
11
Wickham (Altidore)
10

Substitutes

van Persie
20
Valencia
25
Fellaini
31
Welbeck
19
Amos
40
Smalling
12
Januzaj
44
Bardsley
2
Bridcutt
26
Giaccherini
23
Ba
22
Altidore
17
Ustari
32
Scocco
30