MAN UNITED 2, SUNDERLAND 1
(3-3 on aggregate after extra time, Sunderland won 2-1 on penalties)
Manchester United’s miserable season plumbed new depths as they failed to reach the final of the Capital One Cup.
A dramatic second leg of the semi-final was settled by a penalty shootout which Sunderland won to book their place at Wembley.
It will probably go down on record as one of the worst shootouts in history as seven of the 10 kicks were missed as the Black Cats eventually triumphed 2-1.
United managed to convert only one of their five kicks from Darren Fletcher as Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones blazed over while efforts from Adnan Januzaj and Rafael were saved.
United, 2-1 down from the first leg, drew level on aggregate through a first-half header from Jonny Evans.
No further goals ensured the tie went to extra time when there was a dramatic and explosive conclusion.
United old-boy Phil Bardsley equalised in the 119th minute as Sunderland thought they had snatched victory.
Then in stoppage time United were handed a reprieve when Javier Hernandez equalised to force a penalty-shootout decider which Sunderland won.
David Moyes had no complaints about the defeat saying: “I am disappointed, but we didn’t play well enough.
“With one minute to go, it looked as though we were just about there, but it was always going to be a case of stumbling over the line.
“We had chances and good opportunities to finish it, but overall we didn’t play well enough in each half.”
United’s manager added it was a similar case in the penalty shootout explaining they didn’t execute them well enough.
United made five changes from the side which kicked off at Chelsea as there were recalls for Chris Smalling and Alexander Buttner at the back, Fletcher and Shinji Kagawa in midfield and Hernandez up front.
And it was Hernandez who had the first chance of the night in the sixth minute as his far-post header from Adnan Januzaj’s free kick was well beaten out by keeper Vito Mannone.
It was a largely frustrating opening for United who could have fallen behind when Adam Johnson’s great diagonal pass released Fabio Borini whose 25-yard drive flew just over the crossbar.
The breakthrough came in the 37th minute moments after Darren Fletcher had struck an upright and Welbeck’s follow-up shot was well blocked by Mannone.
Januzaj’s corner was flicked on by Welbeck and Evans eluded former team-mate John O’Shea to head home at the far post from a couple of yards. It was only his eighth goal for the club in seven-and-a-half years at the club.
Sunderland hit back and a header from Wes Brown was blocked by Buttner as United at times continued to live dangerously at the back.
Early in the second half, Januzaj twice went close with shots and Rafael saw a drive dip over the crossbar as United searched for a second goal to settle the tie in 90 minutes and without the need for extra time.
Sunderland remained a threat and twice Johnson saw shots deflected not far off target while an angled drive from Marcos Alonso flashed just wide of the far post.
Januzaj had a chance to win the game in the fourth minute of added time. He curled a free kick over the defensive wall but Mannone anticipated the danger and made a comfortable diving save.
Sunderland edged the early part of the opening period of extra time as shots from substitute Craig Gardner and Bardsley flew not far wide.
United had a great chance to seal victory when Januzaj released Hernandez who, clean through, contrived to fire wide.
Bardsley made it 1-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate in the 119th minute following a drive which keeper David De Gea allowed to squirm through his grasp.
Sunderland thought they were Wembley bound until Hernandez struck in stoppage time with a far-post shot into the roof of the net to give United another chance to win through a penalty shootout, but they fouled up big time.