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Thursday 23 January 2014

Sunderland sink Man Utd on penalties to reach League Cup final

Black Cats stun Manchester United with penalty shootout victory at Old Trafford

Phil Bardsley's 119th-minute strike puts Sunderland ahead on aggregate against Man Utd

Sunderland are through to the Capital One Cup final for the first time since 1985 after beating Manchester United on penalties to reach the Wembley showpiece.

"Sunderland played well and I have no problem with them going through, they deserved it"
David Moyes

Though Man Utd won the second leg 2-1, following a dramatic last two minutes of extra time, their victory only levelled the tie on aggregate and the Barclays Premier League champions floundered in the shootout. David Moyes' charges scored one of their penalties, as goalkeeper Vito Mannone ensured Sunderland will face Manchester City on 2 March by saving United's final spot-kick from Rafael.

With United 2-1 down from the first leg, the hosts knew a goal would put them back in charge of the tie and it duly arrived in the 37th minute thanks to a Jonny Evans header. Javier Hernandez then passed up the chance to put United ahead on aggregate, when he fired wide when put through on goal, and with just two minutes left of extra time, Sunderland looked to have won it with their first shot on target, a routine strike from Phil Bardsley that somehow squirmed in off goalkeeper David De Gea.

Inspired by Adnan Januzaj, however, United forced penalties in the dying seconds when the winger crossed for Hernandez to fire a shot in off the bar.

In the ensuing shootout Sunderland's Craig Gardner missed and De Gea saved from Steven Fletcher, while Darren Fletcher gave United a slender lead after Danny Welbeck had skied United's first attempt. Marcos Alonso levelled for the Black Cats before Januzaj was denied by Mannone and Ki Sung Yueng then put the visitors in front. Matters then worsened for United as Phil Jones also fired over the bar but Adam Johnson's potentially decisive strike was then repelled by De Gea, requiring Rafael to score to force sudden death. However, it was Mannone who would have the final word.

"It's been a difficult season, they deserve that," said Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet. "Let's see if we can go one more and win it. We kept going and going and going, so credit to the players - how they put an extra bit in to go to another level.

"After the [Bardsley] goal, I was not expecting to concede and it was difficult to pick them up for the penalties, but they looked very confident. It is a great night for a group of players and a group of fans that have been having a very difficult season."

For his part Moyes was generous in defeat, insisting Sunderland deserved their place in the final. "A lot of games this season we have played well and not had our rewards," he said. "We didn't really deserve anything tonight with how we played.

"When we had the moments and chances to get a second goal, we made the wrong decisions or didn't finish it off. But Sunderland played well and I have no problem with them going through, they deserved it."

Manchester United have injury concerns over midfielder Michael Carrick as he limped off at the beginning of extra-time with what seemed to be an ankle knock.

Capital One Cup semi-final second-leg result
21 January

West Ham 0-3 (0-9 agg) Manchester City (Negredo 2, Aguero)

Capital One Cup semi-final second-leg result
22 January

Manchester United (Evans, Hernandez) 2-1 (3-3 agg) Sunderland* (Bardsley)
*Sunderland win penalty shootout 2-1

Capital One Cup final
2 March

Manchester City v Sunderland

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