- Venue:Stadium of Light
- Referee:Bennett, S
FULL TIME SUNDERLAND 0-1 MAN UNITED: Nani's first half goal is enough to give United the three points to ensure the title race will go to the final day next Sunday. However it could and should have been a lot more comfortable for them.
Owen Hargreaves is coming on for Nani in his first appearance of the season after an injury nightmare stretching back to September 2008.
There will be three minutes of stoppage time here as Kenwyne Jones wins a corner. It is swung in from the right but Fraizer Campbell heads it wide.
Ryan Giggs gets two chances to put the ball into the centre. It is knocked out to Nani on the right and his high cros is gathered by Craig Gordon.
Phil Bardsley is livid as a corner is given against him despite the ball clearly being kept in, but it's a chance for United.
Sir Alex Ferguson opts to throw on Rio Ferdinand in place of Darren Fletcher in a bid to protect this slender lead.
Wayne Rooney tries to curl an effort at goal from the edge of the area but it is high over the bar. But it will give United's players a breather.
Kieran Richardson takes Nani's ankle away and he is also booked by the referee.
Steve Bennett awards a throw to Sunderland after time-wasting by United as the visitors are looking a little edgy now the clock is ticking down.
Steed Malbranque chips a ball into the United area and Fraizer Campbell's ambitious overhead kick drops wide of the goal.
It is a bit scrappy now as Steed Malbranque dives in on Jonny Evans and is rightly shown a yellow card.
John O'Shea concedes a corner which is played in and then headed clear by Ryan Giggs as Sunderland are still in this contest after some lucky escapes.
So close to that killer second as Craig Gordon saves from Wayne Rooney as Nani then sets up Michael Carrick on the edge of the box but Michael Turner heroically blocks his shot on the line with his keeper still grounded.
Nani sends Fraizer Campbell crashing to the ground but escapes a booking from Steve Bennett.
Kenwyne Jones is already causing problems in his 100th appearance as United struggle to clear his header into the area as Lee Cattermole hammers a wayward drive past the United goal.
Sunderland make their final change as the powerful striker Kenwyne Jones is coming on for youngster Jordan Henderson.
Darren Fletcher has a shot blocked and the ball runs out to Wayne Rooney who smacks a low drive just past the upright.
Lorik Cana hurt himself with that header a moment ago but he is okay to carry on following some treatment while United made the substitution.
The disappointing Dimitar Berbatov is going off to be replaced by Michael Carrick.
John O'Shea knocks the ball out down the left for another corner which Jonny Evans heads away. The ball back in by Lorik Cana's header is grabbed by Edwin van der Sar.
Nemanja Vidic concedes a corner down the right as Sunderland break. The ball is played in and Ryan Giggs clears before Darren Fletcher blocks Lee Cattermole's follow up shot.
United have held the possession in the past few minutes without really doing anything in terms of trying to get a second goal.
This is not a bad little spell for Sunderland as they are trying to impose themselves on this game.
Good news for United as Nani is back on and looks okay much to the annoyance of the home fans.
Nani goes down holding his knee from a crunching Lee Cattermole challenge and it is not looking good for him here.
Lorik Cana hits an effort from around 30 yards but it drifts high and wide of the United goal.
Lorik Cana is inches away from fully connecting to a pass into the area at the front post but can't direct his effort past Edwin van der Sar.
There are signs here that Sunderland are creeping into this match now and United could be made to pay for these missed chances.
Dimitar Berbatov is having a nightmare here as he cannot head Ryan Giggs' ball in from right in front of goal as Sunderland get it out for a corner off Kieran Richardson's head which is subsequently cleared.
Phil Bardsley goes crashing to the turf inside the United area but is booked for diving despite claiming Ryan Giggs tripped him.
Wayne Rooney is booked as he kicks away the feet of Lorik Cana while trying to win the ball back laid on the floor.
Nani progresses towards the Sunderland area but his pass into the centre if well cut out by Matthew Kilgallon.
A shocking miss by Dimitar Berbatov at full stretch as he somehow puts a lovely cross to the back post from Wayne Rooney up and over the bar from virtually on the line.
United have started the second half brightly but Dimitar Berbatov is outmuscled as he tries to get the ball in from the right by-line and Sunderland win a goal kick.
From Kieran Richardson's untimely slip John O'Shea's cheeky back-heel plays in Nani and he runs into the area but Craig Gordon pushes away his attempted flick over him before the defence hack the ball clear.
Ryan Giggs puts the corner in from the right with his left foot but Sunderland clear the danger.
Ryan Giggs wins a free kick in the Sunderland half. He plays it wide to the right for Nani and his ball to John O'Shea is put out for a corner by Steed Malbranque.
The second half is up and running here with Sir Alex Ferguson no doubt hoping for a second goal to possibly kill the game off and ensure the title race goes to the final weekend.
HALF TIME SUNDERLAND 0-1 MAN UNITED: Patrice Evra heads a corner away from his own line as the four minutes of injury time are up and United go into the break with a slender lead they will need to maintain to take the title race to the final weekend.
Wayne Rooney finds Patrice Evra but he cannot find the sufficient power to beat Craig Gordon in the area.
Nani chips the ball towards the back post where Dimitar Berbatov waits but Sunderland clear as the game is going from end-to-end.
Sunderland play the corner from the Nemanja Vidic booking in from the left but Edwin van der Sar punches it clear.
Nemanja Vidic is booked for sarcastically clapping the referee Steve Bennett after not getting a free kick.
Ryan Giggs plays it in left-footed but Michael Turner gets up well to head clear.
Patrice Evra is fouled by Phil Bardsley down the left flank so a good chance for United with a free kick here.
Lee Cattermole is the second enforced change for the Black Cats as David Meyler is sadly taken off strapped to a stretcher.
Lee Cattermole is warming up for Sunderland as the situation does not look good for David Meyler as the stretcher is on the field.
Nani runs into Kieran Richardson and goes to ground but the referee waves play on as Sunderland attack. David Meyler goes down holding his knee while Nani is back on his feet as play is now halted.
Sunderland come forward and win a corner down the left which is played in by Steed Malbranque but fails to clear Ryan Giggs who is the first man.
Jonny Evans kicks Fraizer Campbell in the face so Sunderland get a free kick on the left side of the area. Steed Malbranque plays it in but Edwin van der Sar punches it clear.
Ryan Giggs whips a low ball in from the left which Michael Turner puts inches past his own post to concede a corner. Ryan Giggs puts in the flag kick but Craig Gordon gathers after Nemanja Vidic heads it into the air.
SUNDERLAND 0-1 MAN UNITED: The pressure paid off for United as Sunderland cannot clear the ball which breaks to NANI who hits an angled drive with the outside of his right-foot into the bottom corner from the right side of the area.
United are buzzing around the Sunderland area but the home side are holding firm at the back and looking to break when they can.
United clear the subsequent corner and then Jordan Henderson knocks the ball out for a goal kick as Sunderland tried to press down the right flank.
Sunderland come forward as Jordan Henderson tees up Steed Malbranque who hits an effort from 25 yards which Edwin van der Sar tips over.
Wayne Rooney bursts forward and plays in Ryan Giggs again but he takes the ball wide with Phil Bardsley then blocking his attempted cross into the centre.
United go close again as Patrice Evra plays in Ryan Giggs who hits a great strike from the edge of the area which clips the woodwork and goes behind.
The action is back underway and John O'Shea is okay to continue, while Darren Bent is also fine as he was hurt in the same incident.
John O'Shea needs treatment after taking a kick from Darren Bent as the Sunderland man tried to hammer David Meyler's ball into the area at goal.
Steve Bruce is forced into making a change here as Matthew Kilgallon is coming on to replace the limping John Mensah.
Steed Malbranque whips a fierce kick in and Lorik Cana heads just over from inside the area. Not too far away the Sunderland man.
Jonny Evans lunges in on Fraizer Campbell to concede a dangerous free kick to Sunderland.
Sunderland win a corner as Jonny Evans heads a Steed Malbranque cross behind. Jordan Henderson whips it in from the right and John Mensah heads over the bar unchallenged.
United opt to go short and John O'Shea's pass out wide is poor with Kieran Richardson on hand to clear.
Steed Malbranque catches Luis Carlos Nani on the ankle. A free kick for United inside the Sunderland half.
Ryan Giggs gets a chance to run at the Sunderland goal with no oppositon players closing him down but he tries a ball forward to Wayne Rooney which runs out of play. Disappointing stuff from the veteran.
Great pressing play by Sunderland here as they are not giving United any time at all on the ball.
Sunderland are clearly not going to lie down here as they are getting stuck into the challenges and looking to get forward when they can.
Almost an early goal as Wayne Rooney steals in to hammer a shot at goal which Craig Gordon gets down well to save with Ryan Giggs' follow up blocked well by Phil Bardsley in front of his own goal.
Sunderland fans are goading the United faithful that they are not going to win anything. They must have forgot about the Carling Cup.
A lively start at the Stadium of Light in blustery conditions with Rio Ferdinand watching the action from the bench. The defender not fully fit to start which could become as worry for England with the World Cup looming.
The action is underway with United needing a win to keep their title hopes alive following a win for Chelsea at Liverpool. However Sunderland will be no pushovers on their own turf.
Man Utd starting XI: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Jonathan Evans, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney.
Wayne Rooney boosts Manchester United as he returns from a groin injury to replace Antonio Valencia in attack at Sunderland. Sir Alex Ferguson also brings in John O'Shea for Rafael da Silva.
Sunderland starting XI: Gordon, Bardsley, Turner, Mensah, Richardson, Henderson, Meyler, Cana, Malbranque, Campbell, Bent.
John Mensah replaces Matt Kilgallon and Lorik Cana comes in for Kenwyne Jones.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce makes make three changes to his side for the visit of his former club Manchester United to the Stadium of Light. Former United defender Phil Bardsley deputises for the suspended Alan Hutton at right-back.
Champions Manchester United will know how vital a win could be at Sunderland on Sunday as they chase a fourth consecutive Premier League crown.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men find themselves one point behind leaders Chelsea and with two games to go this term, their stranglehold in England could be coming to an abrupt halt.
Their wily old coach goes head-to-head with former player and United star Steve Bruce, who now leads the north east-based outfit and it will be interesting to see his team selection at the weekend.
Black Cats top-scorer Darren Bent will be striving to get on the score sheetonce again as he further aims to impress England manager Fabio Capello ahead of the World Cup finals this summer.
Following the Red Devils' defeat against Chelsea and goalless draw at Blackburn, they have won back-to-back games against fierce rivals Manchester City and high-flying Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
Sunderland have collected three wins from four with a defeat at West Ham United their only blemish in the month of April.
Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole (calf) and full-back George McCartney (hamstring) will face late fitness tests ahead of the Stadium of Light meeting, while John Mensah (knee) and Andy Reid (calf) will miss the final two games of the season.
United must do without Danny Welbeck (knee), Michael Owen (hamstring) and Anderson (cruciate ligament).
Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney (both groin) and Gary Neville (calf) are all doubtful and long-term absentee Owen Hargreaves is unlikely to make a return to the starting line-up, although he could be on the bench again.
At Old Trafford earlier this season, United were moments away from crashing to a highly unlikely defeat but an Anton Ferdinand own goal deep into injury-time tied the scores up at 2-2.
Visiting striker Bent opened the scoring after just seven minutes but Dimitar Berbatov equalised soon after the interval.
However, Bruce's plucky outfit regained the advantage thanks to a header from Bent's towering strike partner Kenwyne Jones.
Nani's first-half strike at the Stadium of Light kept Manchester United's slim Premier League title chances alive following a 1-0 victory over Sunderland.
With Chelsea having moved four points clear at the top of the table following a 2-0 victory at Liverpool earlier in the day, Sir Alex Ferguson's side needed to win on Wearside to keep the title race alive heading into the final weekend of the season.
But while the Red Devils were far from at their best despite the return to the starting line-up of Wayne Rooney, they picked up the required three points to maintain their pursuit of a fourth successive league title heading into next weekend's final game of the season at home to Stoke City.
United were rarely threatened at the back but were indebted to Nani after his 28th minute incisive finish proved decisive.
Rooney tested home goalkeeper Craig Gordon inside five minutes while Ryan Giggs' follow-up was blocked by Phil Bardsley.
Giggs rattled the corner of post and crossbar soon after as the visitors pressed for an early advantage, but Steed Malbranque sent out a warning with a rising shot which Edwin van der Sar in the United goal did well to tip over.
The warning appeared to be heeded when United surged ahead midway through the period.
Giggs, Rooney Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher were all involved in the move, which ended with the Portuguese winger curling a low, right-foot drive into the far corner of the net with the outside of his boot.
Nani was thwarted by Gordon in the early stages of the second half after being set-up by Fletcher.
Berbatov was next to waste a golden chance when he snatched at a volley before seeing a header hit the woodwork after deflecting off United old-boy Kieran Richardson
Michael Turner cleared an effort from substitute Michael Carrick off the line before the Red Devils - helped by fit-again England captain Rio Ferdinand coming off the bench - held firm in the face of some late home pressure.
United must now hope that Chelsea slip up at home to Wigan Athletic next Sunday and they can overcome Stoke City if the Premier League trophy is to remain at Old Trafford for another season.
Shots off target