Wednesday 08 January 2014
Sunderland put their Barclays Premier League struggles behind them to record a 2-1 first-leg victory over Manchester United in the Capital One Cup semi-final.
"We want to enjoy this competition, but the Premier League is key"
Although United almost took the lead towards the end of the first half when Ryan Giggs sent a deflected 20-yard strike against Vito Mannone's crossbar, when the Welshman did score, on the strike of half-time, his goal came at the wrong end. The 40-year-old got the final touch to Wes Brown's low cross under pressure from Phil Bardsley to give the Black Cats the lead.
David Moyes' charges responded well after the break levelling the tie on 52 minutes when Nemanja Vidic towered above former team-mate John O'Shea to head Tom Cleverley's corner into the top corner. However, Cleverley's trip on Adam Johnson enabled Fabio Borini the opportunity to restore the hosts' lead and the Italian striker took it with aplomb, firing the resultant penalty high past David De Gea to inflict a their third successive defeat upon United for the first time in 13 years.
For Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet the victory not only gives his side the opportunity of a Wembley final since 1992 but will strengthen the belief that they can salvage their Barclays Premier League campaign, in which they lie at the foot of the table with 14 points, four points from safety.
"I am still thinking it is something very strange, we can beat the top teams but we cannot beat the ones that are down the bottom with us," said Poyet, whose side has also beaten Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Newcastle United this term. "The way we play maybe suits us when we play against the top teams, we need to change something against the others.
"If not, it is not worth it really. We want to enjoy this competition, but the Premier League is key."
In tonight’s other Capital One Cup semi-final Manchester City host a West Ham United side who knocked out Tottenham Hotspur in the last round but who are without a Barclays Premier League victory since November.
Sunderland (Gggs og, Borini pen) 2-1 Manchester United (Vidic)
Manchester City v West Ham, 7.45pm
Second legs to take place week commencing 20 January