Barclays Premier League
Stadium of Light, 11 April 2009
Sunderland: Gordon; Bardsley, Ferdinand, Collins, Davenport (McShane 73); Edwards, Leadbitter, Tainio (Yorke 85), Reid (Murphy 80); Cisse, Jones. Subs not used: Fulop, Malbranque, Ben-Haim, Colback.
United: Foster; Neville, Evans, Vidic, O'Shea; Park (Ronaldo 69), Scholes, Carrick, Rooney; Berbatov (Macheda 75), Tevez (Anderson 82). Subs not used: Kuszczak, Evra, Giggs, Nani.
Just six days after his infamous debut heroics against Aston Villa, 17-year-old striker Kiko Macheda made another dramatic cameo to give the Reds a victory at Sunderland which would prove vital in the 2008/09 title race.
With Liverpool snapping incessantly at the champions' heels, United travelled to the Stadium of Light knowing that any slip-up would prove costly. A bright start from the visitors yielded the opening goal as Paul Scholes ghosted into the area to glance a header over the static Craig Gordon.
The Black Cats rallied, however, and drew level shortly after half-time as Ben Foster missed a left-wing cross, giving Kenwyne Jones a simple conversion from close-range. Bowed but far from beaten, United redoubled their efforts and pinched the points with just 14 minutes remaining.
Macheda, one minute into his introduction from the bench,was lurking in a crowded penalty area when Michael Carrick's errant shot headed his way. Instinctively, the Italian rerouted the ball into the opposite corner of the goal, leaving Gordon stranded and keeping United on course for title number 18.