Stadium of Light
Wednesday 31 January 2001
UNITED 1 (Cole 46)
Sunderland: Sorensen; Williams, Varga, Craddock, Gray; Rae, Hutchison, McCann, Schwarz (Thome 52 (Makin 58)); Quinn (Kilbane 29), Phillips.
United: Barthez; G.Neville, Brown, Stam, Silvestre (P.Neville 86); Beckham, Scholes (Butt 77), Keane, Giggs; Sheringham (Solskjaer 67), Cole.
United took a step towards the 2000/2001 title with a 1-0 win at Sunderland in a bad-tempered affair.
Andy Cole grabbed the winner but was later sent off as the Black Cats ended the match with only nine men. Peter Reid's side made life difficult for the Reds in the early stages with Niall Quinn proving a menace but the visitors struck decisively within seconds of the start of the second half.
With the Wearsiders appealing for handball by Cole, Roy Keane steered a header back into the path of the striker, who clipped a classy finish over the advancing Thomas Sorensen.
As the travelling fans celebrated, referee Graham Poll sent Michael Gray off for dissent. The official was busy again when Cole went head-to-head with Alex Rae inside the Sunderland area and he dismissed both players to leave only 19 players on the field.
The hosts managed to apply some late pressure despite their numerical disadvantage but United held out to go 15 points clear at the top of the table.