Manchester United grabbed their first point of the English Premier League season after a hard-fought draw at Sunderland on Sunday.
Black Cats summer signing Jack Rodwell got on the score sheet for the first time since arriving from Manchester City to cancel Juan Mata’s opener.
The draw leaves the Louis van Gaal’s side in the second half of the standing, as Sunderland make it two points from two.
Robin van Persie and Antonio Valencia returned to the starting line-up in one of three changes which also had Tom Cleverly back in the midfield in absence of four injured playmakers.
Gustavo Poyet gave summer signing Will Buckley his debut while
defender Santiago Vergnini returned to the side after recovering from injury.
United struggled to hold on to the ball early into the game with their back three, which featured Tyler Blackett for the second successive game, having to sit behind owing to a much fragile performance in the middle of the pack, with Lee Cattermole out-muscling Mata and Cleverly.
Sunderland missed a glorious chance a quarter of an hour into the proceeding, when Connor Wickham fired straight at goalkeeper David de Gea after a fluid-paced counter-attacking build-up.
They were punished for their lack of precision a couple of minutes later, as Valencia- in the visitors’ first successful surge forward- sent in a delightful ball from the right for Mata to slot home from six yards out .
The goal rejuvenated the 20-time champions, who then began passing the ball with bit more confidence and pushed high up the pitch more often.
The few moments of belief was punctured on the half-hour mark. Rodwell evaded van Persie to head home a Seb Larsson corner at the near post; game on, one-all, both teams went for the half-time break.
Sunderland returned from the break the happier side and almost grabbed the lead within seven minutes of restart, as substitute Michael Keane slipped for Wickham to take a shot at goal which Blackett almost turned into his own net.
United’s only salient opening of the second period was averted by goalkeeper Vito Mannone, who tracked out of the goal area to beat Ashley Young to substitute Danny Welbeck’s pass.
The Old Trafford outfit pressed for a winner, but wrong decisions in the final third and slow attacking movements cost them a win at the Stadium of Light.
Much credit to Sunderland’s resolute defence, Van Gaal will have to remain in the waiting queue for a first win of the league season.