Lamine Kon es header was parried by David de Gea but the dance crossed the line to give Sunderland a vital 2-1 win over an uninspired Manchester United
As Louis Van Gaal trudged down the passage, emblazon draining from his confronted with each step, Wahbi Khazri offered Sunderland followers a succession of thumbs-up signs.
The Tunisia playmaker a PS9m January buy from Bordeaux had done more than anyone to not only subject Manchester United and their manager to another dreadful afternoon but offer Sam Allardyce genuine hope that relegation can be averted after all.
Khazri dignities himself on exploiting spate of whip to his dead-ball bringing and this art enables it to score Sunderlands opener before creating the second largest for Lamine Kone. In between, Anthony Martial contributed a fine equaliser but United “ve never” truly in control and hurriedly procured themselves on the back foot.
When, early in the first half, Matteo Darmian fumbled Patrick van Aanholt about 30 gardens out, Khazri stepped up to take the left-sided free-kick.
He impressed it low-grade and, temporarily, the trajectory looked unpromising. Then Jermain Defoe, apparently attempting to flick it on, stepped over the projectile and, with both Uniteds defence and David de Gea wrong-footed, Khazris delivery strayed on unimpeded into the bottom corner.
If the dignity of Tunisian football seemed Sunderlands brightest activate Juan Mata was displaying same hope for United as he persistently ruffled Allardyces excuse from his position tucked into the hole just behind Wayne Rooney.
Even so, Mata and companionship were lucky not to fall behind when Lee Cattermole squeezed a pass into Defoes path. The former England striker who delivered a late fitness experiment before starting had sneaked in behind Chris Smalling but his communication was good and, under pressure from De Gea, he miscued from around seven yards.
Defoe ogled furious with himself for missing that one and his manager simply downcast as he ground his gum with increasingly manic vigour. Allardyce though had a bigger obses. Jan Kirchhoff, the 6ft 5in former Bayern Munich defender, deployed in an fixing character between midfield and apology, appeared to have pulled a hamstring and involved replacement by Jack Rodwell.
With Mata still serving as the catalyst Uniteds passing was starting to click into a convincing overtaking flute but Khazri thought he should have had a penalty when his shot impressed Morgan Schneiderlin on an arm. Detecting a total absence of intent, Andre Marriner refused to buy it and the visiting momentum continued to build.
It was barely interrupted when Darmian who had at times appeared a weak link after loitering in belonging descended awkwardly on a shoulder after challenging for a 50 -5 0 pellet with Khazri. With the right-back unable to continue, Darmian amended by replacing Donald Love, a Scotland Under-2 1 international and, shortly afterwards, United equalised.
That goal represented somewhat stern fluke on Vito Mannone who had done very well to repulse Matas imperious bending shot from the edge of the province exclusively to find Martial pounce on the comeback. Having steadied himself Martial guided a delicate little close-range dink over the goalkeeper from the tightest of inclinations. To call it an accomplished finish would nearly be an understatement.
Half-time coincided with the ceiling of the prime stand being hammered by hunks of ice as Wearside was hit by a terrifying hailstorm. Fortunately these conditions had abated by the time the players re-emerged.
Rooney was not destined to enjoy the best of restarts. After collecting a yellow card for needlessly smoothing his ornaments down Cattermoles calf, Van Gaals lone striker then seemed hugely alleviated not to have agreed criminal penalties. As Khazri whipped in yet another of those speciality free-kicks Rooney attempted to out-leap John OShea and the pellet avoided off the United officers handwriting. Rooneys sides raised concerns and the extremely silly phrase on his face as he waited for the referees decision proposed he must have been mightily alleviated when Marriner motioned Sunderlands petitions away, having apparently ended the send was simply trying to protect his face.
Other officials might have taken a different belief and, if so, Rooney would have received his marching orders for accumulating a second yellowed poster. Instead he was able to help his side withstand a reporting period dwelling predominance with Yann MVila cutting an increasingly influential figure in center midfield.
Defoe very searched sharp-worded and it took a last gasp permission from Daley Blind to prevent him from scoring after Patrick van Aanholt had given a fine low-spirited cross. De Gea soon took his turn to play the hero, diverting Dame NDoyes shot with an outstretched leg next following the sends surge beyond Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
By now the game was going from end to end but De Gea remained the busier goalkeeper, something emphasised when Lamine Kone advanced from centre-half and appreciated his shot tipped to refuge by the Spaniard.
Kone though was simply warming up. Appropriately enough it arrived from another well-executed Khazri corner. Having swivelled Smalling, the former Lorient supporters downward header was simply too strong for De Gea who got a hand to the dance and pushed it on to Memphis Depay but the ball then squirmed off the goalkeeper. There were suggestions it was an own point although that would be a bit unjust on Kone.
Down the other dissolve, United then plea, forlornly, for a handball and penalty when Depays filmed struck OShea but this was Sunderlands day.
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