More misery for Moyes as United bow out on penalties
Shoot-out horror show as seven from 10 missed at Old Trafford before Sunderland progress
Sunderland’s Vito Mannone celebrates with team-mates after Manchester United’s Rafael Da Silva’s missed penalty during the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Old Trafford. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Manchester United 2 Sunderland 1 (agg 3-3)
Sunderland win 2-1 on penalties
Manchester United endured a nightmare penalty shoot-out as Sunderland claimed a place in the League Cup final at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
United scored just once from their five kicks, with only skipper Darren Fletcher converting, as Sunderland’s two successes proved enough to book a Wembley date with Manchester City on March 2nd.
In a season of utter misery for United boss David Moyes, it was yet another hammer blow. His side has seemed to be on the verge of victory thanks to Jonny Evans’ first-half goal as the tie ticked towards the final minute of extra time.
But when Phil Bardsley let fly from 20 yards, David de Gea inexplicably allowed the former United man’s shot to slip through his grasp.
Amazingly, United earned themselves a reprieve in injury time as his players summoned up the spirit for which they are so famed and with virtually their last attack, Adnan Januzaj crossed for Javier Hernandez to bundle home from close range. Moyes might have hoped fortune was about to smile on him.
Even in a ridiculously bad shoot-out, De Gea’s save from Adam Johnson meant Sunderland had only scored twice. United could not match it though. And whilst it is anticipated Juan Mata will be having a medical today ahead of a club-record transfer from Chelsea, he will do so against a backdrop of even more gloom.
They home side started the game brightly but Sunderland played with great togetherness in the opening stages and it quickly became apparent that Gus Poyet’s team were going to give everything in front of a boisterous 9,000-strong following.
United threatened only sporadically before the stooping header from Evans to make it 1-0 but they had been the more dangerous side and, once again, there was more evidence of Adnan Januzaj’s gifts.
At one stage the teenager jinked his way past three different Sunderland challenges, showing equal measures of courage and skill. On another occasion, he impudently put the ball between the legs of Sunderland’s left-back Marcos Alonso.
Vito Mannone, Sunderland’s goalkeeper blocked Javier Hernandez’s header from an early Januzaj free-kick but Sunderland were relatively comfortable until the brief flurry that brought the goal. They had a defence containing three former United players in Wes Brown, John O’ Shea and Phil Bardsley and there was little to trouble them until Darren Fletcher turned Shinji Kagawa’s cross against the post and Danny Welbeck’s follow-up effort was saved. United won a corner and when Januzaj delivered the ball into the penalty area Welbeck was the first to react. His right-foot effort was miscued but the ball bounced conveniently for Evans, running in at the far post, to beat Mannone.
Sunderland could reflect on only a couple of half-chances in the first half. Borini flashed a 25-yard effort just over the crossbar and it needed Alexander Buttner to clear Brown’s header from a corner just before the interval.
But there were not too many occasions when Poyet’s men exerted prolonged pressure or set about trying to find out why United had lost four of their five games this year.
At the other end, Rafael da Silva put a left-foot shot wide early in the second half. Januzaj, always wanting the ball, did likewise. Yet United were also struggling for real fluency. Kagawa showed some nice touches but still struggles to exert real influence on matches and there was no shock that he was replaced just after the hour.
Sunderland’s problem was one of creativity and whether they could find the cutting edge to restore the aggregate lead..
Adam Johnson started to have more of the ball in the second half. Yet Steven Fletcher was isolated at times in attack.
Antonio Valencia replaced Kagawa and immediately went to the right wing, with Januzaj switching to the opposite side. But there was still that danger of Sunderland snatching a breakaway goal.
Moyes was incensed at one point by Buttner giving away a needless free-kick and then not tracking back to cover his position. The attack came to nothing but it was a little warning from Sunderland and there was another shortly afterwards when Johnson chested down a left-wing cross and let fly with a volley that was deflected wide.
Alonso lashed another left-foot shot just past the post and still there was the sense that if Sunderland just showed a touch more ambition they had the opportunity to make it a nervous finale for the home crowd. Still David de Gea was seldom troubled until the late dramatic finale unfolded.