Soccer

Januzaj brace paces Manchester United past Sunderland

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The Canadian Press
10/5/2013 2:36:54 PM
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SUNDERLAND, England -- Belgian teenager Adnan Januzaj scored twice in his first English Premier League start as Manchester United came from behind to beat last-place Sunderland 2-1 and avoid plunging into an early crisis on Saturday.

After back-to-back losses against Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion, United returned to winning ways thanks to 18-year-old Januzaj despite another disappointing collective performance.

"He is a wonderful player, he is someone who we think a lot of," United manager David Moyes said. "I have tried to get him in the team over the last few weeks but for various reasons it did not happen. He is a really good player, he can do most things and play in lots of different positions. He is a real talent. I gave Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley their debuts at Everton and he is certainly in their category too."

The defending champions' defence again looked shaky and Sunderland made the most of the Red Devils' inconsistencies to open the scoring after just five minutes through Craig Gardner.

But United recovered in the second half as Janujaz coolly equalized in the 55th then silenced the Stadium of Light with a superb volley into the far corner six minutes later.

"I thought we played well with the exception of the opening five or 10 minutes," Moyes said. "I am pleased we have won, I am not going to get too excited. At the moment we scored, we needed it but I wasn't getting too low."

Rooney was back in the lineup after missing the 1-1 Champions League draw with Shakhtar Donetsk due to a shin injury as Moyes made four changes.

But United got off to the worst possible start, conceding after a good move from Emmanuele Giaccherini, as Nemanja Vidic failed to clear the ball properly to send it into the path of Gardner, who fired it past goalkeeper David De Gea.

Under pressure, United's display was sometimes embarrassing as Gardner stole the ball from Jones two minutes later, before Giaccherini's header forced De Gea to a superb one-handed save 11 minutes before the break.

United also struggled in midfield as Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverly looked incapable of controlling the game as the visitors pressed unsuccessfully.

Moyes' team could have equalized through Nani's effort from close range though and started to look more comfortable in possession after the interval. Januzaj, who joined United at the age of 16 from Anderlecht, was rewarded for his determination when he combined with Evra on the left before meeting the Frenchman's cross into the penalty area.

The teenager then connected with John O'Shea's headed clearance and sent the ball with a left-foot volley to give Moyes some relief, as United climbed to ninth in the standings, six points behind league leader Liverpool.

Adnan Januzaj (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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