Manchester United will need to overturn a one-goal deficit to reach the Capital One Cup final, with Sunderland looking to protect their 2-1 first leg lead at Old Trafford.
David Moyes was incensed by the decision to award a penalty against his Man Utd at the Stadium of Light, and Fabio Borini’s powerful finish from the spot has ensured that all the pressure will be on the Premier League champions, as defeat would only raise more tough questions for Moyes, as well as extending the club’s miserable start to 2014, which continued with a 3-1 defeat at Chelsea on Saturday.
Despite being ahead going into this second leg, Sunderland will still be second favourites to win this tie and earn the right to take on Manchester City in the final. They will doubtless have to play better than they did against Southampton at the weekend, where they rescued a fortunate point thanks to a combination of poor finishing from the visitors and some admirable fighting spirit. They will need more of that to come through this test.
Man Utd come into this game with a crucial away goal, though should they win 1-0, Nemanja Vidic’s header at Sunderland would only count double at the end of extra time.
Vidic will miss this game, having been sent off late on at Stamford Bridge. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are both unlikely to return from injury, while Patrice Evra is doubtful.
The visitors will be without goalkeeper Kieren Westwood and defender Carlos Cuellar, and at the other end of the pitch, Jozy Altidore is expected to keep his place ahead of Steven Fletcher, who is carrying a knock to his Achilles.
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