Sun­der­land turn screws on Van Gaal

An up­set de­feat to a rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened side puts United’s man­ager in the fir­ing line af­ter the lack­lus­tre Red Devils once more fail to de­liver the goods

CityPress - - Sport -

Rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened Sun­der­land heaped fur­ther pres­sure on Manch­ester United man­ager Louis van Gaal af­ter clinch­ing a 2-1 vic­tory over the Red Devils at the Sta­dium of Light yes­ter­day. The Black Cats claimed the lead af­ter just three min­utes through new sign­ing Wahbi Khazri, be­fore An­thony Mar­tial popped up in the clos­ing stages of the first half to level mat­ters.

The vis­i­tors failed to push on and grab a win­ner, as Sun­der­land dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings af­ter the half-time break.

Sun­der­land even­tu­ally bagged the match-win­ning goal in the 82nd minute when goal­keeper David de Gea knocked the ball over his own line fol­low­ing a set piece.

Manch­ester United went into yes­ter­day’s clash aim­ing to keep them­selves in the hunt for a top-four berth, fol­low­ing a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stam­ford Bridge last week­end.

How­ever, the Red Devils got off to the worst pos­si­ble start when Sun­der­land claimed the lead af­ter just three min­utes.

Khazri fired a curl­ing free kick into the dan­ger area from a deep-ly­ing po­si­tion, and the ball some­how evaded ev­ery­one in the box be­fore fly­ing into the bot­tom-right cor­ner.

De­spite hav­ing the lion’s share of pos­ses­sion, United failed to cause the Black Cats any real prob­lems.

It took them just more than 30 min­utes to lodge their first shot on tar­get.

Juan Mata let fly from out­side the area, but Sun­der­land stop­per Vito Man­none was alert to the dan­ger, and snapped up the ball with rel­a­tive ease.

United were dealt a fur­ther set­back in the 38th minute when full­back Mat­teo Darmian had to be re­placed.

Darmian’s with­drawal did not ham­per United’s rhythm, as they went on to snatch an equaliser one minute later when An­thony Mar­tial scored with a lofted ef­fort from a tight an­gle af­ter Man­none had palmed Mata’s pow­er­ful ef­fort back into the dan­ger area.

Sun­der­land had a chance to re­claim the lead in the third minute of in­jury time.

How­ever, Yann M’Vila failed to find the mark with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The hosts started the se­cond stanza on the front foot and had a penalty ap­peal turned down by the ref­eree in the 52nd minute af­ter the ball struck Wayne Rooney on the hand, which was in front of his face.

The Black Cats again went ag­o­nis­ingly close to notch­ing a se­cond goal three min­utes later.

How­ever, Jer­main De­foe saw his flicked fin­ish cleared off the line by Da­ley Blind, who had slid in to put the ball be­hind.

United were strug­gling to keep Sun­der­land con­tained, and they had goal­keeper David de Gea to thank for keep­ing them in the con­test when he rushed off his line to deny Dame N’Doye’s goal-bound ef­fort with an out­stretched leg.

De Gea was called into ac­tion again shortly there­after, snap­ping up Khazri’s dip­ping free kick with min­i­mum fuss.

The Red Devils even­tu­ally hit back with a chance of their own in the 70th minute.

But Mata saw his goal-bound ef­fort blocked by sub­sti­tute Jack Rod­well’s last-ditch tackle.

How­ever, it was al­ways Sun­der­land who looked most likely to force a break­through in the se­cond half. And they did just that. On 82 min­utes, Lamine Koné rose above his marker to power home a header that was de­flected into the back of the net by the usu­ally re­li­able De Gea.

Mar­tial had a good chance to level mat­ters two min­utes from time, but his sting­ing shot from the edge of the box was tipped wide by Man­none.

The Black Cats held on to claim their first-ever home win against the Red Devils in the Premier League.

me­dia

– TEAMtalk

PHOTO: SCOTT HEP­PELL / AP

EN­COUNTER Sun­der­land’s Yann M’Vila (left), vies for the ball with Manch­ester United’s Juan Mata dur­ing their English Premier League soc­cer match at the Sta­dium of Light yes­ter­day

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