You may also find these links interesting:
It had been a frustrating afternoon for Manchester United as the Black Cats, instilled with steely desire after their turbulent week which saw ex-Reds legend Roy Keane depart the managerial hotseat, set up their side with only a point in mind – illustrated by their lack of any attempts at all on goal.
The 23 shots that the home side mustered meant that they just about deserved the win, but a question mark or two was raised over Sir Alex Ferguson’s selection. Sticking with the same eleven that won well at neighbours City last week may not on its own have been a surprise, but after the stellar performances of Tevez, Anderson and Giggs in midweek the trio may have felt their inclusion was merited.
As it was, the visitors two banks of five in front of the keeper restricted United to few clear cut opportunities – a Berbatov effort, a Rooney drive from a Ronaldo free kick and a Park scuffed shot from a Rooney pass were the best chances of the opening half. And after the interval, it took a while for United to get back into the swing of it. Fletcher and Park showed plenty of effort but nothing in creativity – the talents of Rooney, Ronaldo and Berbatov were ineffective, leaving the brilliant Carrick to occasionally excel but all too often find his own range limited.
Changes were made after an injury to Ronaldo to see the trio that performed so admirably in the Carling Cup introduced – and almost immediately they made an impact, Giggs screwing a volley wide, then cleverly finding Anderson whose shot was blocked with the goal gaping, then the Welshman found Vidic who headed straight at the stand in keeper Fulop.
Carrick and Rooney had chances before Berbatov found himself with lots of room, but could only head over.
It seemed as if United were heading to a frustrating goalless draw but with exactly 90 minutes on the clock, Vidic reacted quicker than anyone to a deflected Carrick drive that hit the post and rebounded, to convert and ensure the champions stayed in touch with their rivals.