Januzaj double earns United victory at Sunderland
Premier League, Stadium of Light - Sunderland 1 (Gardner 5) Manchester United 2 (Januzaj 55, 61)
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.
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.