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Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United: Adnan Januzaj comes to the rescue (video)

Oct 5, 2013, 2:24 PM EDT

Sunderland’s hopes were dashed once again as Manchester United came from behind to claim all three points. The loss keeps the Black Cats in last place, with just one point from seven matches this season. For United, the win brings much needed relief, pulling the side up to tenth in the table and easing some of the tension etched on David Moyes‘ face.

The match got off to a dream start for Sunderland when the hosts took the lead in the fifth minute. Nemanja Vidic, who didn’t exactly have the best match against Shakhtar Donetsk midweek, set Craig Gardner up perfectly. Emanuele Giaccherini, racing up the right, sent a low ball into the United box. Phil Jones attempted to clear, instead sending the ball to Vidic. It bounced off the captain’s standing leg to fall for Gardner, who wasted no time in putting it in the back of David De Gea‘s net.

The visitors were put in the uncomfortable position of chasing the game practically from the kickoff. United looked fine going forward, although the goal continued to elude. In the 20th minute, Nani, playing remarkably well, set up Robin van Persie, who managed to put his header wide. Then in the 41st, Nani himself had a go, getting on the end of a ball from Rafael and forcing a fantastic save from Keiren Westwood.

But United continued to look susceptible in defense, and Sunderland very nearly made them pay once more. In the 34th minute, Giaccherini got himself into a dangerous position once more, getting his head on the end of a cross from Adam Johnson, but De Gea pulled off a fine save to keep Sunderland to just one. Just before the halftime whistle, Giaccherini had another chance, again set up by Johnson. The winger cut in from the left and sliced the ball through three United defenders, but Giaccherini’s shot went well high.

The match was turned on its head in the second half, and the source came in the form of unlikely hero Adnan Januzaj. The youngster, just 18 years old, was handed his first start by Moyes, and Januzaj certainly repaid his manager’s faith. He put in the equalizer in the 54th minute, a lovely finish off a ball from Patrice Evra. The onrushing Januzaj used his right foot to sidefoot his shot past Westwood and into the top left corner.

But why stop a dream start with just one goal? Less than ten minutes later, Januzaj bagged himself a brace, sending in the go-ahead goal. This one was nearly a mirror image of the first. This time the ball came from a poor headed clearance on the part of Sunderland, but once again, Januzaj was ready. He used his left foot this time, catching it on the volley, twisting his body and putting this one into the right side of the net.

Sunderland did absolutely everything they could to rescue a point from the match, including bringing Keiren Westwood up for the final two corners of the match. That scenario brought about a fantastic foot race between Tom Cleverly and the Sunderland keeper, but in the end the ball was cut out by Giaccherini. A dramatic finish to a surprisingly dramatic match.

Sunderland Starting XI: Westwood, Celustka, Colback, O’Shea, Roberge, Cattermole, Ki, Gardner, Johnson (Ji 62), Giaccherini, Altidore.

Substitutes: Cabral, Larsson, Wickham, Cuellar, Borini, Mannone

Manchester United Starting XI: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Vidic, Jones, Carrick, Cleverley, Januzaj (Welbeck 77), Nani (Valencia 77), Rooney, van Persie

Substitutes: Lindegaard, Smalling, Giggs, Kagawa, Hernandez.

  1. hildezero - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I think it’s fair to say that Sunderland are gonna go down as one if the worst teams in Premier League history. That’s sad.

    • bear06 - Oct 7, 2013 at 2:37 AM

      Way too early to say that.

  2. jucam1 - Oct 5, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Altidore was a massive waste of cash, i knew as soon as he was signed to the EPL that he was WAY overmatched. It’s one thing to be in fit form vs Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Trinidad, but when you play real world class competition, the guy can’t produce… That signing will be a key to relegation for Sunderland

  3. mdac1012 - Oct 5, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Jozy played like he was completely uninterested in the game today. He labored around the pitch, even the announcers said he looked tired, and he was repeatedly out positioned by Man-U defenders. The 1 or 2 times he was able to create space in the box, the pass either never came or came too late. I hate to agree with jucam1 on this but he is right, so far this season Jozy (along with the rest of the team) look overmatched in the EPL.

  4. hildezero - Oct 5, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    I don’t agree with jucam1. Jozy has been so far overmatched this season in the Braclays Premier League, but that doesn’t mean he can’t play in the Premier League. To say that he’s only fit form against teams like Jamaica, Costa Rica and Trinidad is ignorance. He’s scored against a lot of good teams in club competition and international teams. It just would’ve been better for him to stay at Alkmaar for a season, then go to a mid-table Premier League club. Sunderland sucks. Plain and simple. They don’t have creative midfielders like Alkmaar and US does. Sunderland is obviously gonna get relegated and Jozy is gonna go down with them, unless he goes to a different Championship club or a Championship club that gets promoted to the BPL.

    • bear06 - Oct 7, 2013 at 2:40 AM

      If Sunderland does get relegated Jozy won’t go to a Championship club.

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