Manchester United 2-0 Sunderland: Wayne Rooney brace secures three points

by Ben Topliss

Manchester United have laboured to a 2-0 win against ten-man Sunderland this afternoon thanks to Wayne Rooney’s second half brace.

United started brightly but the first real opportunity of the game fell to Sunderland’s Connor Wickham. The striker picked up the ball inside United’s half and drove forward unopposed before his low effort from 20 yards was clawed away by David de Gea. At the other end, Ashley Young lashed a half-volley wide after Angel di Maria had whipped a wonderful ball into the box.

Aside from the early chances, it was a quiet start at Old Trafford. United looked to establish an element of control over proceedings and tried their best to keep the ball. However, as so often has been the case this season, chances were few and far between.

United finally fashioned themselves a good opening after 27 minutes as a cross from Antonio Valencia found Young, who saw his effort beat Costel Pantilimon. Unfortunately for United, their former defender John O’Shea was there to divert the ball on to the crossbar.

The hosts continued to struggle in terms of getting into Sunderland’s final third, with Wayne Rooney coming closest with a freekick which Pantilimon tipped over the bar. It was an abject 45 minutes from United from an offensive point of view and they could have no complaints with the score goalless at half time.

Louis van Gaal clearly had words to say at the interval and United started the second period on the front foot. Adnan Januzaj was brought on for the disappointing Di Maria and he came close to scoring with a volley which went over the net.

United plugged away and finally made the breakthrough from the spot after John O’Shea hauled down Radamel Falcao in the box. It was a big mistake from the Irishman but referee Roger East bizarrely sent off Wes Brown instead. Despite the confusion, Rooney stepped up to slot in his first goal of the year.

From then on, the game diminished as a contest and Rooney added a second for United late on. This time, Rooney headed into an unguarded net after Januzaj’s low shot was parried into his path by Pantilimon.

United eventually saw out the victory but van Gaal will know that his side were lucky to take all three points from the contest.

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