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American Exports: Jozy Altidore and Sunderland drop fifth straight in 2-1 loss to Manchester United

Jozy Altidore, Sunderland

Photo Credit: 
Action Images / Ed Sykes

To think it started so well for Jozy Altidore and Sunderland.

The last-place Black Cats outplayed reigning English Premier League champions Manchester United in a first half that saw them take a 1-0 lead, only to see 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj singlehandedly overturn the result for the visiting Red Devils, who came out 2-1 winners.

Altidore was a big reason for Sunderland's positive start in the first 45 minutes, chasing and harassing the Manchester United back line with hustle and high pressure that earned applause from his home fans at the Stadium of Light.

The Sunderland faithful saw their team, playing under interim manager Kevin Ball, take a 5th minute lead after an errant clearance by Nemanja Vidic fell to Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner, who gave the Black Cats a shock 1-0 advantage. 

Altidore could have doubled the margin if his teammates could only have found him in the box. But Gardner didn't cross in time to a wide-open Altidore in the 9th minute and Adam Johnson's centering pass to the USMNT forward was off the mark just before halftime.

Then in the second half it was Januzaj, making his first EPL start for Manchester United, who stole the headlines with a brace in the 55th and 61st minutes. The two goals deflated Sunderland's enthusiasm and the hosts failed to threaten for the rest of the match.

The 2-1 final result sends the Red Devils up to 9th place (3-3-1, 10pts), while Sunderland, losers of five straight, remain anchored at the bottom of the table (0-6-1, 1pt).