After the match report, we take a closer look at the key moments at the Stadium of Light...
The Match The home side raced out of the traps and were on top early on, but United seemed to have weathered the storm by dominating the rest of the first half, striking the woodwork through Ryan Giggs and getting the ball into Sunderland’s net through Adnan Januzaj – only to see the offside flag raised. The award of the free kick that led to Sunderland’s opener was hotly debated by United, and by the time the unlucky Giggs touched Wes Brown’s cross home under pressure from another former Red in Phil Bardsley, the match had gone beyond the minute of injury time that had been initially indicated. There was a rapid response, with Nemanja Vidic grabbing the equaliser early in the second half, but it was Sunderland who hit back, this time scoring from the spot after the referee’s assistant flagged for a foul on Adam Johnson by Tom Cleverley. Januzaj twice went close to scoring but this time there was no way back.
The Goal Vidic led by example to help shake off the shock of conceding, the skipper getting to a Tom Cleverley corner in between ex-Reds defenders John O’Shea and Brown to nod the ball powerfully home.
Star man Adnan Januzaj was excellent once again on the site of his scene-stealing performance in October, popping up all over the pitch, having a goal ruled out for offside and going closest to grabbing an equaliser after Fabio Borini’s penalty.
Sub-plots There was a tinge of United red in the Sunderland starting defence with the presence of O’Shea, Brown and Bardsley, and the latter pair were deeply involved in the opener “credited” to Ryan Giggs. The defeat means United have lost three consecutive games for the first time since May 2001. There is still the second leg to come and United will take a sense of injustice at this result forward into the return at Old Trafford.