Luckily for David Moyes and Manchester United, this was only the first leg. They lost their third consecutive match in all competitions, 2-1 to Sunderland in the League Cup semifinal, suffering from a horrible decision by Andre Marriner, giving the home side a winning penalty kick that wasn’t even close to being a correct decision.
Luck wasn’t strong with the Red Devils in the match, as Ryan Giggs was “credited” with an own goal just before the half time whistle, getting before Phil Bardsley could to a cross, but put in the wrong direction.
Nemanja Vidic equalized early in the second half, rising above John O’Shea to score off a corner, but instead of using that goal to get the necessary push for a win, Manchester United continued to look confused and unimaginative in the midfield (Giggs, Carrick, Cleverley), resulting in more Sunderland pressure.
David de Gea made one impressive save to keep things level, but in the 63 minute Adam Jonson broke through the right wing. Tom Cleverley mistimed his challenge, but he didn’t even touch Johnson. Marriner didn’t call for a penalty at first, but the poor eyesight and initiative of the linesman changed his mind. Fabio Borini got to pull off his awesome celebration (better than his overall skills) converting the penalty kick.
Just like in the match against Tottenham, it seemed like Moyes was reacting to everything and way too late. Except for Adnan Januzaj, no Manchester United player seemed brave enough in his thinking and play to get his team out of the jam they found themselves in. It was only after Poyet made a late defensive substitution that Moyes brought in Javier Hernandez (87th minute!!!), which didn’t really make a difference.
David Moyes has another session of explaining a loss to do, something he didn’t think would happen so often to him during his first six months on the job. However, his team continues to play poorly, home & away, regardless of the competition. Constantly blaming the quality of players and the referees (which actually was partially to blame in this one) isn’t going to cut it for much longer.