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The BBC's John Murray reports
Sunderland started magnificently
 real 28k

Tuesday, 28 December, 1999, 22:19 GMT
Man Utd never say die

Keane Captain Roy Keane pulls one back for Man Utd

Sunderland 2-2 Man Utd

Roy Keane and Nicky Butt spoiled the party for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, after Peter Reid's side had taken an early lead with two goals in 13 minutes.

The home side led the match after just 71 seconds, thanks to Gavin McCann and it took United until late in the second period to find the equaliser.

Match facts
2 mins: Gavin McCann forces an early lead
13 mins: Niall Quinn makes it 2-0
27 mins: Roy Keane pulls one back before the break
86 mins: Nicky Butt finds the equaliser
It was undoubtedly a tense clash and Sunderland once again had to make do without leading goalscorer Kevin Phillips, who failed to recover from his hamstring injury.

Sunderland were hoping to make up for their 5-0 thrashing at Everton on Boxing Day and they started superbly, with Niall Quinn tearing into United's defence single-handedly.

The lone striker helped create Sunderland's first goal and netted his own in the 13th minute.

For the first he nodded down Michael Gray's long pass for McCann to control the ball with his chest and prod it home into the bottom corner from eight yards out.

Sunderland looked transformed from the side which had been ravaged at Goodison Park and they should have had a second when Quinn nodded the ball down for Paul Butler only for the centre-half to blaze over from the edge of the area.

McCann Gavin McCann celebrates his 71 second goal
The second was not long in coming, however, and just minutes later Quinn doubled Sunderland's lead with an exquisite finish.

The Republic of Ireland striker beat Mickael Silvestre to Stefan Schwarz's whipped-in cross from the left and with his outstretched right leg looped the ball over Mark Bosnich and into the net.

United were clearly not enjoying their first visit to the Stadium of Light, but the visitors fought back as the half progressed, culminating in Keane's strike in the 27th minute.

Andy Cole turned and played Keane through on the right-hand side of the area and the United captain scored with an angled drive into the far corner for his 10th goal of a prolific season.

In a frantic end to the first half, McCann blocked a Keane header on the line, Sorensen tipped a Cole header over the bar and a Jaap Stam shot was almost deflected into the home goal by a Sunderland defender.

Tension rises

The tempo dropped after half-time and the highlight of the first 10 minutes of the second period was Yorke changing his shorts on the byline.

Sunderland made the first change just after the hour mark when they brought off midfielder Rae and replaced him with the more defensive minded Darren Williams.

quinn Niall Quinn adds a second early on
Giggs then tried to play the ball through the middle for Cole to run on to, but the alert Makin shepherded it back to Sorensen.

Steve Bould and Butler were doing a sterling job on Cole and Yorke although at times it seemed like referee Winter was giving the central defenders the benefit of the doubt on too many occasions.

United manager Alex Ferguson brought on Teddy Sheringham for Dennis Irwin with 15 minutes left.

Giggs made a blistering run down the left with 10 minutes to go, but his shot did not match his pace and he sent it yards over the bar.

With just minutes remaining, Ferguson brought on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for Beckham, in a last gasp attempt to find the equaliser.

And it prompted the goal United needed.

Giggs played in a long free-kick, Sunderland failed to clear and Butt sent the ball through a host of red and white shirts into the net.


Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Butler, Bould, Gray, Summerbee, Rae, McCann, Schwarz, Kilbane, Quinn. Subs: Williams, Oster, Roy, Reddy, Marriott.

Man Utd: Bosnich, G. Neville, Stam, Silvestre, Irwin, Beckham, Butt, Keane, Giggs, Yorke, Cole. Subs: Sheringham, P. Neville, Solskjaer, Berg, Van Der Gouw.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

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