'Benjamin Button' Zlatan helps United beat Sunderland

Paola Ditto
Aprile 21, 2017

Six draws in their last nine league games had eroded United's hopes of a top-four finish and victory over Sunderland was imperative if they were to stay in touch.

Despite Defoe wasting another chance for Sunderland late on, United were able to see out the remainder of the game easily, with substitute Rashford adding a third in the 90th minute, drilling the ball into the bottom corner after being teed up by Ibrahimovic.

Manchester United player ratings: Romero 7, Darmian 6, Bailly 7, Rojo 6, Shaw 7, Fellaini 7, Herrera 7, Lingard 6, Pogba 6, Mkhitaryan 7, Ibrahimovic 8. I agree (he is getting better).

Larsson remonstrated furiously with referee Craig Pawson and the fourth official and Sunderland appeared to still be thinking about the controversial decision when United doubled their lead a minute after the break.

The contest was well and truly ended just 45 seconds into the second-half, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan (all too easily) firing home with no Sunderland player touching the ball from the kick-off to the goal. Thankfully, Mourinho said Luke was only taken off as he had earned a yellow card.

Substitute Marcus Rashford struck a third in the 89th minute - his first in the league since September 24 - after being set expertly up by the classy Ibrahimovic.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 28th goal of the season in all competitions put United ahead and Sunderland's cause became all but impossible after Seb Larsson was sent off close to half-time.

The indomitable Swede, who recently questioned the quality of his teammates at the Theatre of Dreams and believes Mourinho is getting 200% out of what he now has at his disposal, has scored 28 goals in his debut season in England.

The Spanish goalkeeper was left out of the match day squad for the Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light and was replaced by Sergio Romero.

With eight games left, half of them will come against teams in the top four race. They travel to Belgian side Anderlecht for the quarterfinal of Europe's second-tier club competition on Thursday. - Sunderland have now failed to score in seven successive Premier League games - the joint-second worst run in Premier League history.

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