The Liverpool loanee’s second-half spot-kick saw Gus Poyet’s men pick up a crucial win at the Stadium of Light after Nemanja Vidic had cancelled out Ryan Giggs’ own goal
Fabio Borini’s second-half penalty helped Sunderland to a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final, leaving David Moyes’ hopes of silverware in doubt.
The visitors saw Ryan Giggs smash the crossbar from range while Adnan Januzaj had a goal ruled out for offside in the first half, but it was Gus Poyet’s men who took the lead in stoppage time of the first period as United’s veteran Welshman bundled the ball into his own net.
The Red Devils responded immediately after the restart, Nemanja Vidic levelling the scores from a corner, but when Tom Cleverley felled substitute Adam Johnson inside the box, Liverpool loanee Borini was able to restore the hosts’ lead from the penalty spot.
Both teams made seven changes, with Marcos Alonso making his debut for Sunderland, while United named a strong line-up that included Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick and Vidic.
The hosts enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening exchanges and had the first glimpse of goal on 12 minutes with Borini’s scuffed effort.
United began to settle into the match with Januzaj looking particularly threatening, and Moyes’ side went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock when Giggs’ deflected strike rattled the crossbar after 25 minutes.
The visitors also thought their pressure had told on 38 minutes when Januzaj fired home after initially striking against Giggs, but the linesman ruled the latter was offside when he blocked the ball.
And United’s failure to take their chances counted against them on the stroke of half-time as Wes Brown knocked Sebastian Larsson’s free kick across the six-yard box where Giggs, sliding in to challenge former United team-mate Phil Bardsley, inadvertently applied the final touch from close range.
It did not take long for United to restore parity after the break, however, as Vidic leapt highest to head home Cleverley’s whipped corner on 51 minutes.
But, rather than building on their equaliser, it was Sunderland who came closest to regaining the lead on 62 minutes when Larsson’s volley was parried to safety by David de Gea.
Three minutes later, Poyet’s side did move ahead when Johnson – who had replaced Emanuele Giaccherini from the bench – was the victim of a clumsy tackle by Cleverley in the area and Borini blasted the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.
With 20 minutes remaining, the lively Januzaj almost levelled with a bending effort that curled wide of Vito Mannone’s far post.
United piled on the pressure in the closing stages with Januzaj twice coming close and an effort from Evra just evading the far post, but Sunderland withstood the barrage to ensure they will take a lead to Old Trafford in the second leg on January 22.