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Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United: Adnan Januzaj saves United from disaster

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Adnan Januzaj scored a pair of brilliant goals to earn a win at Sunderland, where Manchester United had trailed since the opening few minutes.

Laurence Griffiths

Manchester United got off to a disastrous start in a must-win game at the Stadium of Light as Emmanuel Giaccherini made progress down the right wing, before Phil Jones half-cut out his cross and a terrible touch from Nemanja Vidic allowed Craig Gardner in to slot the ball past David de Gea and leave United a goal down after just four minutes.

Almost immediately afterwards, Sunderland somehow then messed up a second chance as Craig Gardner tackled Phil Jones to create a 3-on-1 chance for the hosts, but took too long to get his cross in and allowed Jones to get back with a recovering tackle.

United were playing pretty abysmally, with Vidic in particular a surprising and standout disaster, and while they got forward plenty, such forays were limited to chipping aimless crosses into a crowded area. Adnan Januzaj was the only bright spark in taking people on and trying anything other than the obvious and mundane, but the closest even he got was a wide effort from the edge of the area.

The half-time whistle saw United go in behind, and the second half led to no real change in the visitors' fortunes, following the same predictable pattern of attack, although the defensive situation had rectified itself somewhat.

United were struggling, but Januzaj then came to the rescue shortly afterwards after Patrice Evra decided to break from the script and send a cross along the ground and actually aimed at someone, which the onrushing youngster met with a crisp finish into the back of the net.

Shortly afterwards, the remarkable happened, as Nani's floated pass out wide, headed on by John O'Shea, was met by an incredible volley from Januzaj, powering the ball into the bottom corner with Van Persie-esque technique to put his side into the lead.

That proved to be enough, with the substitutions of Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck helping seal the three points. While there's obvious encouragement in Januzaj's quality, and the fact that he was able to keep going after starting despite fading so badly in previous games, there is also the point that this was a narrow win against one of the worst sides in the division. In which we brought on players to shore up a 2-1 lead.

However, while Moyes has presided over a poor performance, he also had the faith to start Januzaj and was richly rewarded. That makes it easier to believe in him, even if the rest isn't so rosy.