Manchester United vs. Sunderland: Premier League Live Score, Highlights, Recap
After establishing an early grip on this encounter, Manchester United capitalised on their pressure to go 2-0 up by halftime thanks to strikes from Robin van Persie and Tom Cleverley.
The second half displayed a very similar story and Wayne Rooney deservedly added to United's tally to seemingly put the game beyond Sunderland's grasp.
Although substitute, Fraizer Campbell, pitched in with a consolation strike against his former club, it was a case of too little, too late for the visitors, who head back to the north-east with a lot to mull over.
Manchester United Starting XI: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Young, Rooney; Van Persie
Manchester United Subs: Lindegaard, Giggs, Hernandez, Vidic, Welbeck, Scholes, Fletcher
Scorers: Van Persie (16') Cleverley (19') Rooney (59')
Sunderland Starting XI: Mignolet, Larsson, Gardner, Colback, O'Shea, Bramble, Johnson, McClean, Cuellar, Fletcher, Sessegnon
Sunderland Subs: Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Westwood, Saha
Scorers: Campbell (72')
Sir Alex Ferguson rises to evacuate the dugout and heads for the dressing room after Chris Foy blows up for full time.
While they might have staged a second-half revival, Sunderland's 3-0 deficit was simply too much to overcome and goals from Cleverley, Van Persie and Rooney proved to be the difference.
While there was no big surprises, those watching were treated to an entertaining 90 minutes, if not a bit one-sided.
90'+3—MUN 3-1 SUN
Sunderland have 40 seconds to get a result out of this.
Probably fair to say they're not going to get it.
90'+2—MUN 3-1 SUN
The second half coming to an end in much the same fashion it started, with Manchester United staging chance after chance in front of Sunderland's goal but lacking a clinical edge.
Evra and Valencia having the latest of the opportunities.
Fans absolutely fantastic today. Never stopped singing and definitely out-sung the massed ranks of home fans.— Sunderland AFC (@SAFCofficial) December 15, 2012
90'—MUN 3-1 SUN
We'll have three additional minutes.
88'—MUN 3-1 SUN
Patrice Evra cleaves through Fraizer Campbell on his left side and while the Frenchman may argue that he took the ball, he absolutely annihilated the Sunderland attacker in the process.
Not much to argue about there, Patrice.
James McFadden, with Sunderland until January, comes on for Jack Colback to make his Sunderland debut and what a time to make it.
The Scotsman has had an up-and-down carrer over the years. Can he prove the doubters wrong today?
82'—MUN 3-1 SUN
Despite bringing a sense of security to the Manchester United midfield, Giggs and Scholes aren't quite as energetic as Cleverley and Carrick, the men they replaced, respectively.
Most of the time, the two veterans' influences on the Red Devils is invaluable, but it isn't working to maximum effectiveness on this particular occasion.
79'—MUN 3-1 SUN
These last 10 minutes are poised to be entertaining ones as both sides open up the field of play considerably.
Sunderland look vulnerable on the counter but the beautiful thing is that so do the home team.
77'—MUN 3-1 SUN
It's a difficult situation for Sunderland now, who are really making a better go of things in attack and threatening.
Do the visitors go for the result and risk falling further behind or be a bit more conservative and perhaps settle for the current scoreline?
74'—SUBSTITUTION (Manchester United)
Tom Cleverley, who scored the best of today's goals, is replaced by Ryan Giggs.
And just like that, Sunderland get on the scoresheet.
Having not made much of his career here as a player, Fraizer Campbell returns to Old Trafford to spoil his old club's clean sheet.
Sessegnon does well to persistently keep the ball in on the right byline, delivering a delicate ball in that's begging to be headed. Campbell complies and puts his side back in this game.
72'—MUN 3-0 SUN
Sunderland attacking in greater numbers now and it's Stephane Sessegnon that's leading the late assault.
Can the Black Cats giver United a taste of their own medicine?
Martin O'Neill makes a change of his own as Fraizer Campbell, previously of Manchester United, replaces Adam Johnson on the right wing.
68'—SUBSTITUTION (Manchester United)
A big moment in the Manchester United season here as Nemanja Vidic makes his official return in place of Rio Ferdinand.
64'—MUN 3-0 SUN
The home crowd really are in full flow now and Simon Mignolet's goal has become subject to an endless barrage of pressure.
Most sides might be happy to sit back after going three goals ahead, but it's the attitudes like this that set the truly world-class apart.
A masterclass performance from United at the moment.
61'—MUN 3-0 SUN
Nemanja Vidic emerges to warm up on the touchline, sparking renditions of "Nemanja, ohh!!!" from the home crowd.
It would sem likely that we'll see the Serbian feature today.
59'—GOALLLLLL!!!! (Wayne Rooney)
Wayne Rooney deservedly gets on the scoresheet thanks to what can't be described as anything other than brilliance from Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman overlaps Ashley Young on the left edge of Sunderland's box and after collecting, manages to dink his way through two Black Cats before drilling a cross into the feet of Rooney.
Rooney gleefully laps up the chance, seeing off Sunderland in the process.
56'—SUNDERLAND GO CLOSE!!
The improvements continue for the Black Cats after James McClean has a long-range shot from the left wing.
THe shot itself isn't great but a Paul Scholes deflection wrongfoots David de Gea, who just about manages to get to his right post and divert the shot out for a corner.
Shaky moment for United.
53'—MUN 2-0 SUN
Whatever it was that Martin O'Neill said to his players at halftime, it appears to be working as Sunderland manage to construct several attacking forays in the first eight minutes of this half.
Connor Wickham, despite his age, is looking bright for the visitors and is constantly working to offer his midfielders numerous outlets.
50'—MUN 2-0 SUN
Thankfully for the neutral viewers, the second half has seen the game resume in similarly open fashion to that of the first period.
Connor Wickham has already seen some action and tested David de Gea early on before Van Persie beat Bramble for speed at the other end but angled his chipped shot just several metres wide of the goal.
47'—ROONEY HITS THE WOODWORK
Jack Colback gets caught out once again as Antonio Valencia beats the offside trap to stream down Sunderland's left flank.
The Ecuadorian delivers a low, sweeping cross that reaches Wayne Rooney, who sees his clipped shot crack off the cross bar and out to Ashley Young, who fails to make anything of it.
Manchester United get the second period going and hope to build on a massively fruitful first half.
Halftime—Substitution (Manchester United)
Sir Alex Fergsuon also makes a change as Paul Scholes comes on for Michael Carrick.
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