Sunderland player ratings: Former City flop turns up to destroy United

Sunderland Stadium of Light

The Black Cats turned on the style to beat Manchester United 2-1 in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi final.

Manchester United were left stunned by the tempo and organisation of Sunderland's play and struggled to break through Sunderland's water tight defence, their only goal coming from a well worked set-piece move.

The home side stuck to their game plan perfectly and troubled United into fundamental mistakes, and were not rescued by Adnan Januzaj this time despite the Belgian attempting seven efforts on goal.

Special praise must be reserved for former Manchester City winger Adam Johnson, who brought Sunderland back into the game with his high energy and direct running, which ultimately won the penalty for Sunderland to go on and win the game.

Here are our ratings for Sunderland's Semi-Final win against Manchester United.

Vito Mannone - 6/10

Former Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone didn't have the game he was expecting. Despite Manchester United having the majority of the ball, they never really threatened the goal, having just 4 shots on target. And apart from the well worked set piece for the goal, the rest were pretty straight forward.

Phil Bardsley - 8/10

Early in the first half it has to be said that Januzaj was able to have a lot of freedom down that side, however, from the half-hour mark onwards it was all Bardsley. The former United man forced the own goal by Giggs and put Sunderland on the way to their victory.

John O'Shea - 8/10

Apart from the goal which had the finger of blame pointed at both Sunderland centre backs, it was a seamless performance that frustrated the United attack. O'Shea showed his experience and his ability against his former side and was an integral part of the side's win, blocking two shots.

Wes Brown - 8/10

In a similar style to O'Shea, the centre back produced a dominant performance and really set the foundations for Sunderland to build upon. The Ex-United pair really showed their former employers up with their performance.

Marcos Alonso - 8/10 - MOTM

Despite worries over the match fitness of the left back, he showed an enormous amount of heart to always offer an outlet for Sunderland. In what was a very energetic display, you could be forgiven for forgetting that it was the player's full debut for the club. A constant thorn in United's side, he deserved the Sky Sports MOTM award.

Sebastian Larsson - 6/10

Moved a lot for the side but could have done seriously better with the amount of ball time he had. He was gifted a chance to score by an out-of-sorts Chris Smalling and despite the praise going to De Gea, the midfielder should have done better. A free-kick lumped into the srands summed up the midfielder's performance.

Lee Cattermole - 5/10

The only real poor performance came from defensive midfielder Lee Cattermole, who allowed United space on too many occasions. Januzaj really caused the midfielder problems when slotted into a more central role and despite it being a dominant defensive performance, I don't feel he added too much to the side.

Ki Sung-Yeung - 7/10

The South Korean midfielder was Sunderland's main man up until half time, but slipped away during the second 45 minutes. He produced a highly energetic display, which involved him putting his body on the line for the team and instigating a lot of Sunderland's attacking football.

Emmanuele Giaccherini - 6/10

A quiet frustrated performance, in which he didn't get a lot of time on the ball. In the player's 56 minutes on the pitch, he only made 22 touches, nearly half the touches goalkeeper Vito Mannone made.

Steven Fletcher - 6/10

Another frustrated performance, the striker was forced to deal with an in-form Vidic, who completely marked him out of the game. The only highlight in what was a dull match for the player was an impressive knock-down that set Borini on his way, and probably should have done better with his chance.

Fabio Borini - 7/10

Definitely the most lively out of the attacking three, he was the one that caused United the most damage. Borini put in an energetic display around the box, often switching wings to put himself on front foot of every attack. And of course he scored the very well taken penalty to put Sunderland 2-1 up and win the game.

Adam Johnson - 7/10

Despite only playing 39 minutes, the former England midfielder put in one of his better performances of recent years. As soon as he stepped on the pitch, he only produced positive minded play and that was able to put United on the back foot. In his first run at the United defence, he forced an inexperienced Tom Cleverley into a needless foul that won Sunderland the penalty. It was a performance that showed promise that maybe one day, he can go back to his very best.

Jozy Altidore - 5/10

Came on to cause the United defence physical problems and he did. However, he did prove to be too keen and wrestled Rafael to the ground and got himself booked for his troubles. 

images: © p_a_h, © Rach

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