Sebastian Larsson's superb volley on the half-hour mark gave Sunderland an astonishing 1-0 win over Manchester United on Saturday, capping off one of the most remarkable races to avoid relegation we've seen in a long time.
The Black Cats have now won three matches in a row since their surprising draw against Manchester City and hold a three-point lead over Norwich City with two matches left to be played for both sides.
Ryan Giggs' Red Devils came back down to earth in a hurry following last week's 4-0 win over Norwich in the interim boss' first match at the helm, and the Red Devils could hardly find any openings in an organised, compact Sunderland defence.
Giggs surprisingly opted to play Nani and Ashley Young on the wings, and neither was able to do much in this fixture. To say fans weren't excited with their efforts in this match would be an understatement:
#MUFC have completely failed to control the midfield, Carrick and Mata were poor, Nani failed to impress, Young - as usual.— UnitedZone (@unitedzone) May 3, 2014
Gus Poyet has been outcoaching opposing managers for weeks now, and Saturday was no different. The Cats largely gave possession to a United team that didn't seem to know what to do with the ball, with little space available in the centre of the pitch.
The Red Devils tried to push late in the match, but Sunderland actually came closer to scoring a second goal when Fabio Borini hit the crossbar with five minutes left on the clock. The Cats held on to their one-goal lead, recording their first win at Old Trafford since 1968.
No one gave two cents for Sunderland's chances of avoiding relegation two months ago, yet here they are. Poyet deserves all the credit in the world, and unsurprisingly, that's exactly what he got following the result.
Brian Moore acknowledged the run of results was absolutely astonishing:
Chapeau to Gus Poyet and Sunderland - an astonishing run of results - deserve to stay up.— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) May 3, 2014
The Mirror's Kevin Maguire doesn't mind admitting he was mistaken when he thought there was no way the team would avoid relegation:
Gus Poyet is a miracle manager. I thought we were down a few weeks ago. Never happier to be proved wrong— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) May 3, 2014
The hosts put together a lackluster performance, something Giggs acknowledged after the match. Per BBC Radio Manchester:
His colleague on the other team was understandably in better spirits and reminded reporters of a promise he made a while back, as shared by BlueTweets FC:
Gus Poyet: "I said a long time ago that we would fight to the end, and what a game of football we played today."— BlueTweetsFC™ (@BlueTweetsFC) May 3, 2014
Per ESPN's Miguel Delaney, Giggs didn't try to shift the blame looking back on the match, and he also praised Nemanja Vidic, who was carded in his final match played for the club at Old Trafford:
Giggs laments "lack of concentration and quality". Calls Vidic, ahead of last OT game, "probably greatest defender I've played with."— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) May 3, 2014
Eurosport's Andy Mitten added another quote of the manager, who stated home fixtures in particular have been unkind for the team:
Giggs: "We had a lack of quality and concentration in the final third today. Old Trafford seems to have been a problem this year."— Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten) May 3, 2014
Per Manchester Evening News' Rob Dawson, Giggs was hopeful Wayne Rooney could still feature for the team this season:
Giggs says he 'hopes' Wayne Rooney can play again this season. Will be assessed before Tuesday.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) May 3, 2014
He also made it clear he still believed in the quality of the squad, indicating the team's issues lie with form and concentration rather than a lack of talent:
Giggs: "I still believe there's quality in the dressing room but we've not shown it today. We haven't shown it consistently this season."— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) May 3, 2014
Via the team's official Twitter account, Giggs told reporters he wants his team to make a statement in their second-to-last match of the season against Hull City:
Giggs wants #mufc to bounce back against Hull: "We want to finish our last game at home with a win and we'll try our best to do that."— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 3, 2014
Poyet was over the moon with the game he witnessed but immediately reminded everyone the job wasn't done yet, via the Premier League's twitter account:
Gus Poyet on Man Utd 0-1 Sunderland: "What a game of football... If we win another game & stay up, it's going to be a season to remember."— Premier League (@premierleague) May 3, 2014
As reported by BBC, Poyet stated the season had been a long one, further making the team's accomplishments in these last weeks astonishing, while also hinting perhaps his old team Chelsea could help the Cats out:
I don't know how many records have changed this season, we have been down there all season but if we win and stay up it's an incredible season. We done so many things right but it's been so difficult. [...]
I hope my old team Chelsea give me a hand tomorrow. But if we win one more game we are safe.
I said to the boys after the game, thank you. It was tough and there were moments when we looked very tired but we coped with the situation and the clean sheet today is immense.
Sunderland now lead Norwich City by three points ahead of the Canaries' match against Chelsea on Sunday. The Blues still have an outside chance at the league title and won't gift Norwich anything, so Sunderland are really in the driver's seat with just two matches left to be played.
The Cats will play West Bromwich and Swansea, far easier fixtures than the ones left for Norwich, who will face Arsenal after Sunday's match against Chelsea.
With that in mind, and the three-point buffer, it looks very likely Sunderland will be playing in the Premier League in the 2014-15 season.