Monday 10 April 2017
Match report: Sunderland 0-3 United
United moved up to fifth in the Premier League with a comfortable victory over struggling 10-man Sunderland on Wearside.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford put the Black Cats to the sword, and Seb Larsson was sent off late in the first half to compound their woes.
David Moyes men have now failed to score in their last seven outings and never looked like ending that torrid run here, with the Reds in control throughout.
They remain rooted to the foot of the table and their relegation to the Championship, after nine successive Premier League seasons, now seems only a matter of time.
The win stretched United’s unbeaten league run to a 21st match and provided a much needed win after frustrating back-to-back home draws.
United started brightly and went close early on with Jesse Lingard - who signed a lucrative new contract in midweek - kept out by a fine save from Jordan Pickford.
Sergio Romero started a league game for the first time this season with David de Gea ruled out with a “minor problem”.
Sunderland began to impose themselves on the contest and the stand-in stopper was soon called into action.
He saved well to keep out the returning Lee Cattermole before Jermain Defoe fired wide from an offside position after Jack Rodwell had played him in.
Lingard had another effort tipped wide by Pickford, but the breakthrough was not long in coming and arrived in style on the half hour mark.
Ibrahimovic collected an Ander Herrera pass, rolled Billy Jones, cut inside and smashed in his 28th goal of the season from 20 yards.
United were then indebted to a fine stop from Romero as the Argentine keeper made a fine block to deny the onrushing Victor Anichebe from close range.
Sunderland’s afternoon went from bad to worse when Larsson was harshly dismissed two minutes before the break.
His challenge on Herrera was late but not reckless or malicious, and a yellow card probably would have sufficed but referee Craig Pawson brandished a red.
The match-clinching second goal arrived within 46 seconds of the restart when Mkhitaryan burst into the box and fired in an exquisite finish beyond the advancing Pickford.
The keeper saved well from Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba went close from distance.
Defoe was denied by Romero from a free-kick and then fired another wide, before United rubber-stamped the result with the third a minute from time.
Substitute Marcus Rashford rounded off a sweeping team move with a close-range finish, a much needed goal for the striker and his first in the league since September.
Overall team performance: 7/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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