Robin van Persie celebrates after his shot is deflected by Titus Bramble into his own net

Sunderland   0

Man United   1

Bramble (OG 27)

Saturday 30 March Stadium of Light | Attendance: 43,760

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Sunderland
22Mignolet
2Bardsleyyellow cardsub7
3Rosesub14
16O'Sheayellow card
19Bramblegoal
4N'Diayeyellow card
8Gardner
23McClean
21Johnsonsub10
28Sessegnon
9Graham
Subs:
20Westwood
10Wickhamsub21
7Larssonsub2
12Kilgallon
14Colbacksub3
18Mangane
30Mandron
Man United
1De Gea
2Rafaelsub6
12Smalling
15Vidic
28Buttner
7Valencia
8Andersonsub23
16Carrick
18Young
26Kagawasub19
20van Persieyellow card
Subs:
13Lindegaard
6Evanssub2
3Evra
23Cleverleysub8
17Nani
25Powell
19Welbecksub26

Report

30/03/2013 14:49, Report by Steve Bartram
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Sunderland 0 United 1

Manchester United ground out a gritty, yet invaluable win over Sunderland to extend a record-breaking start to the Barclays Premier League season.

Robin van Persie's 27th-minute strike deflected off Phil Bardsley and Titus Bramble for the only goal of the game, making United the only team to win 25 of the first 30 games of a top flight season in England.

A mixed display from the Reds might have yielded more in a one-sided first period, but the relegation-threatened hosts improved markedly after the interval to keep United on the back foot for long periods.

Mindful of Monday’s looming FA Cup quarter-final replay at Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson made good his pre-match suggestion that he would chop and change his squad to absorb the rigours of a congested calendar.

Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Chicharito were omitted completely from the 18-man party, while Patrice Evra savoured the rare experience of starting the game on the bench.

That meant a second successive start for Alexander Büttner, with the Dutchman on the left side of a defence also comprising Rafael, Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic ahead of goalkeeper David De Gea. Michael Carrick partnered Anderson in central midfield, flanked by Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, while Shinji Kagawa provided deep-lying support to van Persie in attack.

The Dutchman, looking to curtail a comparatively barren run of form in front of goal, had the game’s first attempt on goal as his long-range header from a Rafael cross drifted comfortably to Simon Mignolet.

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