05/12/2008 16:57, Report by Nick Coppack
United 1 Sunderland 0
than power, was helped on its way by Berbatov, who again saw Fulop save well.
Ten minutes later, Rooney opted only for power when he volleyed spectacularly from 20 yards out. At first it looked as if the ball might arrow into the top corner, but in the end it sailed harmlessly wide for a goal kick.
Sunderland, meanwhile, lacked firepower. Dwight Yorke, returning to the club where he scored 66 goals, was less goal threat and more goal tender, patrolling the area in front of the visitors’ back four. The only Sunderland man consistently playing as a forward was former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse.
Ji-sung Park, who’d been lively early on, forced another save from Fulop on 28 minutes after linking well with Rooney. Park stretched to reach Rooney’s return ball but couldn’t muster enough power to beat the keeper. Park went close again shortly after, while Fletcher also fired over the bar after Michael Carrick’s miscued volley.
Sunderland's were reduced to half chances. On 40 minutes, Rio Ferdinand fouled Cisse 25 yards from goal, and the Frenchman's free-kick only succeeded in firing it into the Reds’ wall.
The score may have been 0-0 at the break, but Sir Alex isn’t one to panic and stood by the 11 on the pitch. He did, however, deem it necessary to throw on Carlos Tevez on 58 minutes after Rooney, Carrick and Fletcher had all failed to send United into the lead. Fletcher’s was perhaps the best chance, the Scot swivelling to hit a left-footed shot just past the post after good