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The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
Marcos Angeleri challenges Wayne Rooney unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Darron Gibson.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Javier Hernandez by Cristian Riveros. Ji-Sung Park takes the indirect free kick.
Marcos Angeleri replaces Boudewijn Zenden.
Effort on goal by Ahmed Elmohamady from just inside the area clears the bar.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Rafael Da Silva on Jordan Cook. Free kick taken by Phillip Bardsley.
(Sunderland) makes a substitution, with Jordan Cook coming on for Steed Malbranque. Javier Hernandez on for Dimitar Berbatov.
Boudewijn Zenden takes a shot. Comfortable save by Edwin Van der Sar.
Booking for David Meyler for unsporting behaviour. David Meyler concedes a free kick for a foul on Rafael Da Silva. Rio Ferdinand takes the free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ji-Sung Park by David Meyler. Rio Ferdinand takes the free kick.
Shot from 12 yards from Dimitar Berbatov. Save made by Craig Gordon.
Shot from 12 yards from Dimitar Berbatov. Save by Craig Gordon.
Wayne Rooney delivers the ball, clearance made by Phillip Bardsley.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Blocked by Rio Ferdinand.
(Sunderland) makes a substitution, with David Meyler coming on for Darren Bent.
Corner taken right-footed by Jordan Henderson, Darren Bent conjures a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Rio Ferdinand gets a block in.
Darron Gibson takes a shot. Comfortable save by Craig Gordon.
(Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Federico Macheda coming on for Ryan Giggs. Darron Gibson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Oliveira Anderson.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Cristian Riveros on Oliveira Anderson. Indirect free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.
Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Blocked by Anton Ferdinand.
Anton Ferdinand gets a block in. Dimitar Berbatov scores a goal from the edge of the area to the top right corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-0 Sunderland.Assist by Oliveira Anderson.
Shot by Dimitar Berbatov from 18 yards. Blocked by Anton Ferdinand.
Foul by Rafael Da Silva on Darren Bent, free kick awarded. Phillip Bardsley restarts play with the free kick.
Patrice Evra concedes a free kick for a foul on Boudewijn Zenden. Craig Gordon takes the free kick.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Asamoah Gyan on Nemanja Vidic. Free kick taken by Nemanja Vidic.
Oliveira Anderson takes a shot. Anton Ferdinand gets a block in.
The referee blows for offside. Craig Gordon restarts play with the free kick.
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ryan Giggs, Nemanja Vidic takes a shot. Save by Craig Gordon.
Corner taken by Boudewijn Zenden, clearance made by Ryan Giggs.
Boudewijn Zenden sends in a cross, blocked by Nemanja Vidic.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Wayne Rooney on Nedum Onuoha. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line, Steed Malbranque manages to make a clearance.
Nedum Onuoha concedes a free kick for a foul on Dimitar Berbatov. Oliveira Anderson takes the indirect free kick.
Shot by Asamoah Gyan from inside the six-yard box clear the bar.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot.
The match restarts for the second half.
The referee calls an end to the first half.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden from the right by-line to the near post, Patrice Evra manages to make a clearance.
Phillip Bardsley sends in a cross, clearance made by Nemanja Vidic.
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Craig Gordon makes a save.
Inswinging corner taken by Ryan Giggs, save by Craig Gordon.
Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs, Phillip Bardsley manages to make a clearance.
Effort from outside the penalty area by Oliveira Anderson goes wide left of the target.
Wayne Rooney concedes a free kick for a foul on Nedum Onuoha. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
Darren Bent is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Rafael Da Silva.
Phillip Bardsley goes into the book.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Patrice Evra by Boudewijn Zenden. Free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.
Inswinging corner taken by Ryan Giggs, Craig Gordon makes a comfortable save.
Ryan Giggs takes a shot. Save by Craig Gordon.
Effort on goal by Dimitar Berbatov from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save by Craig Gordon.
Ryan Giggs challenges Boudewijn Zenden unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
Centre by Ryan Giggs, clearance by Phillip Bardsley.
Boudewijn Zenden is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Patrice Evra.
Foul by Wayne Rooney on Phillip Bardsley, free kick awarded. Craig Gordon takes the free kick.
Oliveira Anderson takes a shot.
Jordan Henderson fouled by Oliveira Anderson, the ref awards a free kick. Jordan Henderson restarts play with the free kick.
Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot from a just insdie the area and hits the post.
Shot from just outside the penalty box by Wayne Rooney misses to the left of the target.
The referee gives a free kick against Ji-Sung Park for handball. Craig Gordon takes the indirect free kick.
Steed Malbranque gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ji-Sung Park. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Ryan Giggs from right wing, clearance made by Ahmed Elmohamady.
Steed Malbranque fouled by Nemanja Vidic, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden from right channel, clearance made by Rafael Da Silva.
Dimitar Berbatov finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close in. Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland.The assist for the goal came from Wayne Rooney.
Foul by Cristian Riveros on Ji-Sung Park, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.
The game kicks-off.
Ferguson hails `amazing` van der Saar
Sir Alex Ferguson always expected veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to retire at the end of the season.
The Manchester United boss confirmed yesterday that he was planning for the 40-year-old Dutchman's exit in the summer.
Denmark international Anders Lindegaard has already been brought in from Aalesunds and is now training with the Old Trafford outfit, even though he will not be eligible to play until the FA Cup tie with Liverpool on January 9.
And the chances are a bigger name will be recruited for the start of next season too as Ferguson bids to ensure his side do not suffer in the same way they did when he failed to secure Van der Sar's services to replace Peter Schmeichel in 1999.
"I did expect this to be Edwin's final season," said Ferguson. "To still be playing at this level at 40 is amazing.
"You can only do it if you have the structure and the mind to be able to programme yourself and train the way he does. It is phenomenal. I am very lucky to have had both Van der Sar and Schmeichel.
"But we have learnt from when we tried to replace Peter. I should have signed Van der Sar after Schmeichel but I made a mistake. Now we know where we are going."
Van der Sar will take his customary place in goal on Boxing Day against Sunderland, who have taken points off all the title contenders this term.
A home win would continue a decent period of results for United, who retained top spot over Christmas thanks to Manchester City's failure to overcome Everton on Monday and could open a two-point lead still further given Arsenal and Chelsea are not in action until Monday.
Ferguson will wait until after the January 4 meeting with Stoke before assessing the title race.
However, he does feel the number of realistic candidates is reducing.
"I don't think there will be anyone outside ourselves, Chelsea or Arsenal," he said. "Those three will certainly be there.
"I know Harry (Redknapp) is talking up his chances at Tottenham but they are involved in the Champions League, which is a new thing for them.
"If they get through the next stage it is not easy to manage European competition at that level and doing your league programme, plus FA Cup ties. Usually experience gets you through.
"Manchester City have got a chance of course. But they will also have the Europa League that will make it difficult.
"Maybe they, and Harry too, could buy in January because it is very difficult to manage both."
Ferguson expects Nemanja Vidic and Anderson to be available despite becoming victims of a flu virus that has swept through the club's Carrington training ground.
Both men would have missed Sunday's trip to Chelsea had it not been postponed but have now returned to training, along with Michael Carrick and Nani, who have also been affected.
Paul Scholes (groin) and John O'Shea (calf) are both out.
Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley will not allow himself to be carried away as he sets his sights on Europe.
The 25-year-old full-back returns to Old Trafford with the Black Cats sitting in sixth place in the Barclays Premier League table and having established themselves as genuine challengers for European qualification during an impressive first half of the campaign.
Manager Steve Bruce has been at pains to dampen down expectation in recent weeks, but a similarly solid return from the remaining 20 games would leave them with a big chance.
Bardsley, who played in the UEFA Cup with Rangers, said: "Obviously Europe is a tough place to get into in this league because there are so many good teams.
"But if we keep improving and keep picking points up along the way and continue our own form, then hopefully we can get in there. But all the lads have their feet on the ground. We know what is ahead.
"We have got a tough second half of the season and this Christmas period now will show where teams are going to lie. We will look forward to it and hopefully pick as many points up as possible."
As if to illustrate Bardsley's point, Sunderland will head for Old Trafford for what would have been a testing fixture anyway without seven first-team absentees.
Danny Welbeck is ineligible under the terms of his loan agreement with United, while skipper Lee Cattermole is suspended and John Mensah, Titus Bramble, Michael Turner, David Meyler and Fraizer Campbell are all injured.
Bardsley said: "Of course it is going to be tough going there, but it's up to other players now to step in and try to stake their claim in the team. I am sure the lads the manager brings in will do that."
Dimitar double lifts United
A Dimitar Berbatov double extended Manchester United's unbeaten run to 17 games and consolidated their position at the Barclays Premier League summit as Sunderland were brushed aside 2-0 at Old Trafford.
Victory provided United with a healthy advantage over Arsenal and Chelsea, who meet at the Emirates Stadium on Monday, and nearest challengers Manchester City, who have played two games more.
And while Wayne Rooney's wait for a goal in open play goes on, Berbatov continues to fill the void superbly.
The much-criticised Bulgarian is now on 13 for the season, although his second did require a massive deflection off Anton Ferdinand after he had provided United with a fourth-minute opener in a one-sided contest.
It was almost beyond comprehension that United were not out of sight by half-time.
Not only had they scored an early goal, they had also struck the woodwork on two occasions, Wayne Rooney had twice come close to grabbing that elusive first goal in open play since March and both Berbatov and Ryan Giggs had threatened terror at every turn.
In response, under-strength Sunderland failed to muster a single shot.
Yet somehow Steve Bruce remained hopeful of if not gaining that long-awaited win over his old boss, at least not returning to Wearside empty-handed despite missing seven key men.
Berbatov had broken the deadlock in such simple fashion too.
Giggs' driving run through the Sunderland midfield caused the visitors a major headache.
When the veteran laid off a pass to Rooney, Berbatov was in space at the far post.
All his strike partner had to do was find him, which he did with a superb chipped cross which the Bulgarian powered home.
On his last start a month ago, Berbatov scored five and United bagged seven.
For a while it seemed a repeat was on the cards.
Rooney floated an excellent chip narrowly wide. Berbatov thudded a shot against the post. Anderson weaved his way into space on the edge of the area and curled a shot that beat Gordon but crashed down off the bar.
The Scotland keeper was relieved to see another Berbatov effort flash into the side-netting, then saved with his feet as Giggs threatened.
Amid all this, Rooney had let fly from the edge of the area and had Gordon scrambling to make the save.
Yet, as Phil Dowd blew his whistle to end the punishment, Sunderland had still only conceded once, knowing United had shown enough weakness earlier in the season to remain vulnerable.
As if to prove how precarious their position was, United's goal came under threat at the start of the second period.
First Steed Malbranque, then Asamoah Gyan tried their luck, the latter man blazing over with a volley from an acute angle.
The sense of foreboding was increasing amongst the home fans. But the worries were brought to an end when United benefited from a slice of luck they should not have needed.
With Rooney's overlapping run offering Berbatov space after Anderson had picked out the Bulgarian with a pass he delivered whilst appearing to look the other way, a shot was lined up for the right corner of Gordon's goal.
The keeper committed, Berbatov's effort then struck Anton Ferdinand, whose last-minute own goal in the corresponding fixture last year cost his side their first Old Trafford win since 1968.
This time, it was not so costly but the outcome was just the same as the goal doubled United's advantage.
Almost immediately, Ferguson replaced Anderson and Giggs with Darron Gibson and Federico Macheda.
Anderson did not look particularly impressed but a few consoling words from his manager, no doubt pointing out what lies ahead over the next fortnight, and a standing ovation from the Stretford End, seemed to cheer his mood.
Berbatov almost made it his third hat-trick of the season when he swivelled onto Gibson's wayward shot and let fly with a shot that a startled Gordon could not hold.
Boudewijn Zenden finally managed a shot on target for the Black Cats near the end, although by then, United were playing on autopilot anyway.
"Pulis departs Stoke"