Sunderland AFC vs. Manchester United
Venue: Stadium of Light
Date: Sunday, 9 April 2017
Kick-off: 13:30 BST
Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 victory away at Sunderland on a sunny afternoon at the Stadium of Light.
Stretching his tally to 28 goals for the campaign, Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring before Seb Larsson was correctly shown a straight red just before half-time.
The visitors took advantage during the second period, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford completed the scoring with a further two fine finishes.
Fresh from his recent contract extension, Jesse Lingard tried to replicate his last goal up north but his shot was held by Jordan Pickford.
Ibrahimovic struck a promising free-kick into the wall as Bryan Oviedo’s dead ball was held at the other end.
Good play from the hosts ended with Lee Cattermole firing a shot towards Sergio Romero which was held, before Lingard’s neat dribbling and low curled attempt was tipped wide by Pickford’s dive.
The resulting corner was originally cleared, but Ander Herrera fed Ibrahimovic, who held off the challenge of Billy Jones before curling his effort into the far bottom corner in style.
Whether it was a cross or shot, Luke Shaw found Pickford’s gloves as Paul Pogba’s first time strike was held.
Captain for the day Marouane Fellaini almost fumbled the ball over the line from Shaw’s delivery as Romero denied Victor Anichebe from close range inside the six yard box.
All of a sudden United had the man’s advantage as Larsson lunged in high on Herrera, as referee Craig Pawson brandished the red card.
Under the boos of the home supporters, Herrera sliced wide in the last action of the first half.
Less than 60 seconds after the interval, Shaw’s perfect through ball found Mkhitaryan, who dribbled into the box before firing a finish into the far corner on his weaker left foot.
Following a corner, Ibrahimovic’s dangerous cross was half dealt with as Herrera was wild with his follow-up.
Missing the dead ball specialist Larsson, Jermaine Defoe stepped up to curl a free-kick into the safe hands of Romero.
On the hour mark, Pogba volleyed over from Ibrahimovic’s flick-on, as Black Cats top scorer Defoe fired over in an effort to find a way back into proceedings.
With his first touch after arriving as a substitute, Anthony Martial’s ambitious lob was held, and despite Javi Manquillo’s neat touch, he curled over aimlessly.
Pogba’s free-kick was a whisker away as Defoe couldn’t connect properly from strike partner Anichebe’s cross.
After failing to score in the league since September, Rashford’s low finish across goal sealed the job late on, after Ibrahimovic’s flicked forward pass set up the youngster.
Full-time arrived as Jose Mourinho’s side extended their unbeaten league run to 21.
It was comfortable throughout, with the red card playing its part but this was a deserved three points for United.
Up next is a trip to Belgium to take on Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final first leg.
The 8:05pm kick-off this Thursday offers the chance to pursue another trophy, and an alternate route into next season’s Champions League.
United: Romero; Darmian, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw (Blind 61); Herrera, Fellaini, Pogba; Mkhitaryan (Martial 78), Ibrahimovic, Lingard (Rashford 64).
Subs not used: Pereira, Tuaznebe, Fosu-Mensah, Carrick.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Sunderland: Pickford; Jones, Kone, Denayer, Oviedo (Manquillo 39); Larsson, Cattermole (Borini 66), Rodwell, Ndong; Anichebe, Defoe.
Subs not used: Mannone, Djilobodji, Khazri, Pienaar, Gibson.
Manager: David Moyes