MANCHESTER UNITED 2
JANUZAJ (55), (61)
SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER STADIUM OF LIGHT | ATTENDANCE: 45,426
Manchester United returned to winning ways at Sunderland thanks to two superb goals from Adnan Januzaj.
The 18-year-old, making his first start for the Reds in the Barclays Premier League, cancelled out Craig Gardner’s opener with a pair of brilliant strikes within six minutes of each other in the second half.
United’s evening had got off to the worst possible start when the hosts took the lead just five minutes in. Phil Jones’ clearance to Emanuele Giaccherini’s low cross went straight to Nemanja Vidic, but the United skipper got into a tangle, and when the ball fell to Gardner the Sunderland midfielder immediately swept the ball in past David De Gea’s right hand.
Rocked back by the early goal, the Reds took time to settle but Januzaj threatened with a shot that rifled just inches wide, while Nani’s first-time volley from a tight angle flew across the face of goal. David De Gea pulled off a magnificent, one-handed save to his right to deny Emanuele Giaccherini’s header, and just before half-time the same Sunderland dangerman blazed over the bar from close range.
These missed opportunities by the hosts were the turning point, and after regaining their composure, the champions struck two decisive blows through the Belgian-born youngster. The first goal left home keeper Keiren Westwood rooted to the spot as Januzaj’s right foot connected with Patrice Evra’s cross while the second was an even sweeter strike. John O’Shea had headed Nani’s cross out towards the edge of the area, but the 18-year-old lashed the ball back past Westwood for a truly magnificent winner.
The goals took the wind out of Sunderland’s sails, and Robin van Persie spurned a great chance for an even better scoreline when he unusually stabbed the ball wide in the dying stages of the match.