skip to content
Corner taken by Jordan Henderson from the left by-line.
Corner taken by Andy Reid played to the near post.
Foul by Rafael Da Silva on Asamoah Gyan, free kick awarded. Rafael Da Silva receives a caution for unsporting behaviour. Jordan Henderson takes the free kick.
Nemanja Vidic takes a shot. Blocked by Michael Turner.
Dimitar Berbatov fouled by Michael Turner, the ref awards a free kick. Michael Turner is cautioned. Darren Fletcher restarts play with the free kick.
Darren Bent has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.
Luis Nani produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.
Luis Nani takes a shot. Michael Turner gets a block in.
Effort on goal by Javier Hernandez from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
Asamoah Gyan produces a overhead kick right-footed shot from 12 yards. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.
Andy Reid is brought on as a substitute for Boudewijn Zenden. Steed Malbranque leaves the field to be replaced by Asamoah Gyan.
Dimitar Berbatov produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
Boudewijn Zenden gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luis Nani. Tiago Bebe is brought on as a substitute for Oliveira Anderson. Rafael Da Silva takes the free kick.
Luis Nani takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.
Darren Bent handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Rio Ferdinand takes the direct free kick.
Darren Bent produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
Nemanja Vidic fouled by Ahmed Elmohamady, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Oliveira Anderson, clearance made by Titus Bramble.
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani played to the near post.
Ahmed Elmohamady takes a shot. Nemanja Vidic gets a block in.
Jordan Henderson takes a short corner.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Rio Ferdinand gets a block in.
Javier Hernandez produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.
Boudewijn Zenden concedes a free kick for a foul on Federico Macheda. (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Javier Hernandez coming on for Federico Macheda. John O'Shea restarts play with the free kick.
Ahmed Elmohamady produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.
Oliveira Anderson challenges Steed Malbranque unfairly and gives away a free kick. Boudewijn Zenden takes the direct free kick.
The referee blows for offside. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani, save by Simon Mignolet.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Cattermole on Oliveira Anderson. Darren Fletcher restarts play with the free kick.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Phillip Bardsley on Luis Nani. Direct free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.
Federico Macheda is ruled offside. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Luis Nani.
Luis Nani takes a shot. Blocked by Phillip Bardsley.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Dimitar Berbatov. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
Paul Scholes takes a shot.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rafael Da Silva by Steed Malbranque. Direct free kick taken by Paul Scholes.
Michael Owen leaves the field to be replaced by Dimitar Berbatov.
Rafael Da Silva produces a cross, save made by Simon Mignolet.
Boudewijn Zenden takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Luis Nani.
Titus Bramble gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Oliveira Anderson. Strike comes in from Luis Nani from the free kick.
Corner taken by Jordan Henderson from the left by-line, John O'Shea makes a clearance.
Boudewijn Zenden produces a shot from just outside the area that bounces off the post.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Blocked by Nemanja Vidic.
Darren Bent takes a shot. Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Blocked by Paul Scholes.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden from the right by-line, save by Edwin Van der Sar.
Steed Malbranque concedes a free kick for a foul on Oliveira Anderson. Oliveira Anderson takes the free kick.
Luis Nani sends in a cross, Simon Mignolet makes a save.
Darren Bent takes a shot. Nemanja Vidic gets a block in.
Foul by Luis Nani on Darren Bent, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Jordan Henderson.
Federico Macheda challenges Steed Malbranque unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Boudewijn Zenden.
Corner taken by Boudewijn Zenden from the right by-line, save by Edwin Van der Sar.
A cross is delivered by Rafael Da Silva, save by Simon Mignolet.
Darren Bent fouled by Nemanja Vidic, the ref awards a free kick. Nemanja Vidic booked. Boudewijn Zenden crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right by-line.
Darren Bent fouled by Nemanja Vidic, the ref awards a free kick. Nemanja Vidic goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour. Direct free kick taken by Jordan Henderson, The ball is crossed by Boudewijn Zenden.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
Corner taken left-footed by Oliveira Anderson, save by Simon Mignolet.
The ball is swung over by Luis Nani, Michael Turner gets a block in.
Jordan Henderson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.
Darren Bent has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide left of the goal.
Inswinging corner taken by Boudewijn Zenden.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden from the right by-line, Nemanja Vidic makes a clearance.
Corner taken by Jordan Henderson from the left by-line, Nemanja Vidic manages to make a clearance.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nemanja Vidic by Darren Bent. Free kick taken by Edwin Van der Sar.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steed Malbranque by Paul Scholes. Boudewijn Zenden takes the free kick.
The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
The referee calls an end to the first half.
The second half begins.
The referee ends the match.
Steve Bruce will lock horns with the man he still calls "boss" desperate to finally break his duck.
The Sunderland manager will go head to head with Sir Alex Ferguson still looking for his first win over Manchester United, the club he served with such distinction as a player.
Bruce was a member of the class of 1993 which finally ended a 26-year wait for a league title, establishing a dynasty which has added another 10 Premier League successes since.
He left Old Trafford for Birmingham in the summer of 1996 with three league winners' medals, two FA Cups, two League Cups and a European Cup Winners' Cup among his list of honours, and two years later, launched his managerial career at Sheffield United.
However, despite some near-misses - Sunderland led 2-1 at Old Trafford last season before Anton Ferdinand's unfortunate own goal handed United a face-saving point - he is yet to get the better of a man for whom he, not surprisingly, has the highest regard.
Bruce said: "Oh aye, he's `the boss', absolutely.
"There will never be another one. Since I have left, it doesn't matter where you go, everybody asks the same thing: 'What was he like? What was it like?'.
"He is a quite unbelievable manager and it is a quite unbelievable club, and I was privileged to be there, that's the only thing I can say.
"I was privileged to be there for the best part of 10 years.
"I have been trying for years to get a result over them and haven't quite managed it.
"I have managed a few draws, but that's about it. But they are without question for me still the team that has everybody talking about them.
"When Manchester United come to town, there is something about them and you would love to get a result against them - but it's not easy.
"There are a few managers, not just myself, who have tried hard and have been unable to get a result against them."
Defender Anton Ferdinand could return to the squad for the clash.
Ferdinand is back in training after a hamstring injury and could be ready to face his older brother Rio, if selected, at the Stadium of Light.
John Mensah (also hamstring) was due to train on Friday, but the game is likely to come too soon for him, while Kieran Richardson will miss out with a similar problem.
Bruce faces perhaps his most difficult decision with his goalkeepers as the fit-again Craig Gordon attempts to displace Belgian Simon Mignolet, while Fraizer Campbell and David Meyler (both knee) remain long-term absentees.
Meanwhile, Ferguson is happy to let Fabio Capello decide whether Wayne Rooney is fit enough to report for England duty next week.
Although the Manchester United boss declared on Tuesday that Rooney could be out for three weeks with the ankle injury he aggravated at Bolton last weekend, Ferguson has now revealed his star striker returned to training on Thursday.
As usual, Rooney is pestering his manager to play against Sunderland.
Ferguson has no intention of agreeing in an attempt to save the 24-year-old from himself and ensure he starts to do himself justice again.
But with England not due in action until their October Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley, Ferguson is willing to hand Rooney over to Capello and trust the Italian's judgement.
"It is really up to Fabio," Ferguson told Key 103.
"You are talking about an extra 10 days. By that time, we would hope he will definitely be 100%.
"Wayne wants to play but now we have identified the injury, we have to be dead sure we are doing the right thing for him because he has not been doing himself the proper justice."
Not that Ferguson is condemning Rooney for his desperation to get involved.
Having scored just once this season - from the penalty spot - and been substituted after an hour at Bolton, many players would be happy to take a break from the limelight.
Rooney has never taken that attitude. But Ferguson feels the game has changed from the one where players could go into matches some way below their best.
"The problem with the lad is that he is too willing to play with injuries," said Ferguson.
"It is a great trait to have in any footballer. But with the speed and number of games you have these days, fitness levels are really important."
Rooney is not the only fitness issue Ferguson is having to contend with.
Slightly less clear-cut with Sunderland in mind is the availability of Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Anderson, who all started Wednesday's win in Valencia after extended periods on the sidelines.
"We are going to check them," revealed Ferguson.
Van der Sar heroics deny Black Cats
Edwin van der Sar was Manchester United's saviour as Sunderland boss Steve Bruce came close to breaking his duck against Sir Alex Ferguson.
The veteran Dutchman produced a fine 16th-minute save to deny Steed Malbranque and then saw compatriot Bolo Zenden hit a post eight minutes before the break as the home side enjoyed much the better of the first half of an entertaining goalless draw.
Half-time substitute Dimitar Berbatov had a 48th-minute strike ruled out for offside and after Nani had forced a good stop from Simon Mignolet, fired inches wide 10 minutes from time as United improved after the restart, but the Black Cats were more than good value for their point in front of an appreciative crowd of 41,709.
United's preparations were rudely interrupted by the burst pipe which flooded their dressing room ahead of kick-off, and the hospitality got little better when the game eventually kicked off 20 minutes later.
There is a new-found confidence about Sunderland this season fostered by a home victory over Manchester City and, in their last two Barclays Premier League games, more than creditable draws against Arsenal and Liverpool.
That, coupled with Bruce's determination to finally get one over on his old boss after years of trying in vain, ensured the visitors would not have things all their own way.
The 49-year-old's fears that Ferguson was being less than candid over Wayne Rooney's fitness proved unfounded when the England striker was not included in the 18, and Berbatov's presence only among the substitutes provided a further boost.
However, what will have pleased him most is the way his team took the game to United from the off to produce an opening 45 minutes which could and perhaps should have brought more tangible reward.
With Lee Cattermole, Steed Malbranque and Zenden totally eclipsing Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher in the middle of the field, the traffic was largely one way, and although lone striker Darren Bent had his work cut out, Nemanja Vidic left the field at half-time knowing he was in a game.
Sunderland had a glorious opportunity to take the lead with just 16 minutes gone when Cattermole's superb through-ball and Malbranque's excellent first touch put the Frenchman in on van der Sar.
However, the vastly-experienced Dutchman got in a vital block to spare his side, although that was far from the only occasion on which his goal came under threat.
Nedum Onuoha saw an instinctive shot hacked off the line after he had got a touch to Ahmed Elmohamady's driven cross, but it was the woodwork which came to United's rescue eight minutes before the break.
Zenden was allowed to set himself after shifting the ball on to his left foot 20 yards out, and although his swerving drive evaded van der Sar's out-stretched arm, it hit the post.
United offered little in response as striker Michael Owen found himself fatally isolated, and Mignolet did not have a single save of any note to make before the break, although Nani might have done better with a 39th-minute free-kick which flew well wide.
Owen's afternoon ended at the break when he was replaced by Berbatov as Ferguson sought to inject some menace into his side's game.
The Bulgaria international had the ball in the back of the net within three minutes of his arrival, although was clearly in an offside position when he turned home Scholes' miscued shot and the flag duly went up.
But although the visitors were playing with greater purpose now that they had a focal point to their attack, they continued to look vulnerable down their left with Elmohamady proving a constant threat.
If van der Sar had kept his side in the game before the break, Vidic had to do the same after it when Fletcher could only help Zenden's 63rd-minute free-kick towards his own goal, the defender blocking that and Elmohamady's follow-up before the Egyptian blasted the rebound high over.
United were living dangerously and they were relieved to see Malbranque's 67th-minute effort drop just over after Ferdinand had got in a partial block.
Bent, who had seen little of the ball in front of goal, had a sniff with 17 minutes remaining when full-back Phil Bardsley broke down the left and squared, but his left-foot shot flew wide.
Mignolet had to beat away Nani's dipping 77th-minute strike from distance and Berbatov blasted inches wide three minutes later with the game entering its closing stages.
Substitute Asamoah Gyan tested van der Sar's concentration levels with an acrobatic overhead kick six minutes from time, but Titus Bramble had to throw himself into the path of Vidic's late header to cement the draw.
© 2004 - 2015 football.co.uk