Adnan Januzaj marked his first Premier League start with a brilliant double as Manchester United came from behind to beat Sunderland 2-1 in a breathless contest at the Stadium of Light.
With United rocking, David de Gea pulled off one of the saves of the season, denying Giaccerini’s bullet header with a stunning one-handed reflex save.
Giaccerini spurned another huge chance to make it 2-0 when he somehow fired over from 12 yards after Adam Johnson did well to pick him out.
Patrice Evra was a key attacking threat for United throughout and it was his drilled cross that led to the equaliser against a Black Cats side that struggled to sustain their first half momentum. The Frenchman’s pass found Januzaj, whose assured first-time finish finally saw Kieren Westwood beaten.
But Januzaj left the best until last, meeting John O’Shea’s poor defensive header with a beautifully executed volley that arrowed into the bottom corner, earning United a much needed win and relieving some of the pressure on United boss David Moyes.
PRE-MATCH: Manchester United, who come into this game on the back of their worst league start in 24 years, hand a first Premier League start to Januzaj. Rooney passes a late fitness test to start alongside the returning Van Persie in attack. O'Shea leads Sunderland out against his former club.
5’ - GOAL: Sunderland 1-0 Manchester United – Terrible defending by United gifts Sunderland a dream start. Giaccerini’s cross from the right is not dealt with by Jones or Vidic, who plays it straight to Gardner to lash into the bottom corner.
21’ – CHANCE: Evra picks out Nani with a deep cross, but the Portuguese’s tame volley flies wide.
34’ – WHAT A SAVE! De Gea pulls off one of the saves of the season with an outstanding one-handed stop from Giaccerini, whose bullet header seemed destined for the back of the net.
44’ – BIG MISS: Giaccerini’s spurns a huge chance to make it 2-0 when he somehow fires over from 12 yards after Johnson did well to pick him out.
55’ - GOAL: Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United – Januzaj levels the match with a calm first-time finish after Evra picked him out from the left.
61’ - GOAL: Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United – Januzaj ensures his first Premier League start is a memorable one with a sensational winner, volleying in after O’Shea’s poor clearing header.
Sunderland possession: 37%, Manchester United 63%.
Sunderland have lost five consecutive Premier League games, the last time they lost five on the bounce was in March 2006 (six games in a row).
Manchester United have avoided losing three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since December 2001.
TALKING POINT: Can Januzaj be the catalyst for United’s season? In another below par United display, Januzaj was a shining light. He added energy and verve to their performance and showed he has plenty to offer. Moyes will be hoping his rapid development continues.
MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS
MAN OF THE MATCH
Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) – The teenage star turned the game on its head: a well-taken equaliser got United back into it, and he capped a fine display with a sensational winner.