Manchester United keep top-four hopes alive with victory over 10-man Sunderland

Matt Lewis
Manchester United cruised to victory against 10-man Sunderland

Manchester United kept their faint hopes of a top-four finish alive with a comfortable victory 3-0 over 10-man Sunderland.

The Red Devils leapfrogged Arsenal into fifth place and are now four points behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

Jose Mourinho’s side boast a game in hand over their derby rivals and the two sides will face off later this month in a crunch clash.

They won’t have an easier day at the office than this afternoon stroll at the Stadium of Light though as they received a helping hand from the referee.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s strike broke the deadlock

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had already fired the visitors in front on the half-hour mark with a devastating spin and finish to break the deadlock.

But the relegation-threatened Black Cats were really doomed when Craig Pawson sent off Seb Larrson on the stroke of half time.

It was a debatable decision as the midfielder went over the top of the ball but his challenge on Ander Herrera was not two footed.

Down to 10 men at the break and already with a mountain to climb, it was game over less than a minute after the restart.

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Jordan Pickford was the first Sunderland player to touch the ball when he picked the ball out of the back of the net when Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled the advantage.

There was a touch of good fortune in the way the ball found its way through the legs of a despairing Lamine Kone but it was accurate and sweetly struck from the Armenian.

Jermain Defoe went close with a rare sighting of goal for the hosts while Paul Pogba arrowed a free-kick just wide of the upright.

There was just enough time for Red Devils substitute Marcus Rashford to finally end his goal drought as he struck low past Pickford into the far corner.

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United now turn their attention to Thursday night’s Europa League tie with Anderlecht.

Mourinho will hope an injury to David De Gea, which saw him miss the Black Cats triumph, does not keep him sidelined for too long.

For his opposite number, former United manager David Moyes, relegation to the Championship draws nearer by the week.

Will he even make it to the finish line?

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