Sebastian Larsson's first-half goal was enough to give Sunderland their first win at Old Trafford since 1968 and take them to the brink of safety.

Barring an unlikely set of results, a single win from their remaining two games will be enough to preserve the Black Cats' top-flight status.

And it will be all but confirmed if Norwich lose on Sunday, after Sunderland condemned Manchester United to their seventh home league defeat of the season.

Man Utd players were a bit flat - Giggs

Norwich are three points adrift of Gus Poyet's men and must also overturn a 13-goal deficit in matches against Chelsea and Arsenal.

Sunderland, for whom this was a third successive victory, conclude their season with home games against West Bromwich Albion and Swansea.

But defending champions United have their own concerns.

Defeat brought interim United manager Ryan Giggs's winning start to an abrupt end, with Louis van Gaal rumoured to be on the verge of being given the job of rebuilding a club now virtually certain to miss out on European football next season.

Giggs made five changes to his starting line-up, which was lacking striker Wayne Rooney because of a combination of illness and injury, and selected two wingers.

Yet any hope of the performance being a throwback to thrilling days past soon stalled as Nani and Ashley Young made precious little headway.

Nani did fire a long-range effort over and Patrice Evra had a close-range header saved by Vito Mannone, who also kept out a speculative strike from Juan Mata.

But, even with John O'Shea's sliced clearance flashing over, it was a paltry return on their dominance of possession, particularly as Sunderland looked as though they could score every time they advanced.

Marcos Alonso smashed a volley wide before Larsson's opener, a goal which exposed the defensive failings United have struggled with this season.

Darren Fletcher should have prevented Connor Wickham's cross given he had the striker trapped by the corner flag. Then Michael Carrick lost Larsson completely as the Swede speared into the area before sweeping home an impressive finish.

David de Gea after conceding at Old Trafford

United goalkeeper David De Gea then almost gifted Adam Johnson a chance to make it 2-0 with a mis-hit clearance.

Within five minutes of the restart, Giggs had introduced Adnan Januzaj for Nani, and midway through the second half Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck were on too.

No home comforts

Manchester United have now lost seven home league games this season -the worst since 1973-74, when United were relegated.

Yet it was Sunderland who almost profited from the home side's commitment to attack.

Fletcher conceded possession too close to his own penalty area, and when Jozy Altidore crossed, fellow substitute Emanuele Giaccherini struck a post.

Welbeck drilled over as United searched for an equaliser, but the penetration required from midfield was lacking, and England boss Roy Hodgson had left by the time Carrick sent a pass intended to send Welbeck scampering free straight out of play.

A minute later, Javier Hernandez fired Evra's cross over.

Gus Poyet: Sunderland 'never stopped believing'

Sensing the prize of safety was so close, Sunderland's commitment to remaining solid at the back shone through.

Though it was increasingly rare, they still retained a threat - and Fabio Borini became the latest Sunderland man to fire against the woodwork as the clocked ticked down to a famous victory.

For a gallery of photos from Saturday's Premier League action, head to the BBC Sport Facebook page.  

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Manchester United

  • 01 de Gea
  • 04 Jones
  • 03 Evra
  • 16 Carrick Booked
  • 05 Ferdinand
  • 15 Vidic Booked
  • 18 Young (Welbeck - 67' )
  • 24 Fletcher
  • 14 Hernández
  • 08 Mata (van Persie - 66' )
  • 17 Nani (Januzaj - 52' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Smalling
  • 19 Welbeck
  • 20 van Persie
  • 25 A Valencia
  • 31 Fellaini
  • 40 Amos
  • 44 Januzaj

Sunderland

  • 25 Mannone
  • 27 Vergini
  • 28 Alonso Booked
  • 33 Cattermole
  • 16 O'Shea
  • 05 Brown
  • 11 Johnson (Giaccherini - 58' )
  • 07 Larsson (Bridcutt - 74' )
  • 10 Wickham (Altidore - 65' )
  • 14 Colback
  • 31 Borini

Substitutes

  • 02 Bardsley
  • 17 Altidore
  • 22 Ba
  • 23 Giaccherini
  • 26 Bridcutt
  • 30 Scocco
  • 32 Ustari
Ref: Howard Webb
Att: 75,347

Match Stats

Shots

17 8

On target

2 1

Corners

8 0

Fouls

11 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Manchester United 0, Sunderland 1.

90:00 +4:23 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Manchester United 0, Sunderland 1.

90:00 +3:46

Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).

90:00 +3:46

Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

90:00 +2:23

Foul by Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).

90:00 +2:23

Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:52

Attempt blocked. Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jozy Altidore.

90:00 +1:06

Patrice Evra (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:06

Foul by Jozy Altidore (Sunderland).

90:00 +0:23 Booking

Booking Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +0:07

Foul by Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United).

90:00 +0:07

Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

89:37

Attempt blocked. Michael Carrick (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Phil Jones.

87:53

Offside, Sunderland. Emanuele Giaccherini tries a through ball, but Emanuele Giaccherini is caught offside.

86:59

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

86:03

Delay in match Patrice Evra (Manchester United) because of an injury.

86:02

Delay in match Fabio Borini (Sunderland) because of an injury.

85:20

Offside, Manchester United. Javier Hernández tries a through ball, but Robin van Persie is caught offside.

83:52

Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left.

83:50

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Emanuele Giaccherini.

80:37

Attempt missed. Javier Hernández (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Patrice Evra.

78:44

Foul by Darren Fletcher (Manchester United).

78:44

Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

78:04

Offside, Manchester United. Javier Hernández tries a through ball, but Robin van Persie is caught offside.

76:15

Attempt missed. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Darren Fletcher.

73:38 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Liam Bridcutt replaces Sebastian Larsson because of an injury.

72:50

Attempt missed. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Phil Jones with a cross.

72:32

Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

72:32

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

71:45

Attempt missed. Jack Colback (Sunderland) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left.

71:43

Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Jozy Altidore with a cross.

69:51

Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

69:51

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

66:38

Attempt missed. Phil Jones (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high following a set piece situation.

66:04 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Danny Welbeck replaces Ashley Young.

65:50 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Robin van Persie replaces Juan Mata.

65:31

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

65:31

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

64:04 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Jozy Altidore replaces Connor Wickham.

61:50

Attempt missed. Phil Jones (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Javier Hernández.

61:47

Attempt blocked. Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross.

61:26

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Jack Colback.

57:51

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

57:20

Offside, Sunderland. Vito Mannone tries a through ball, but Connor Wickham is caught offside.

57:03 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Emanuele Giaccherini replaces Adam Johnson.

56:43

Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).

56:43

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

56:09

Offside, Sunderland. Vito Mannone tries a through ball, but Connor Wickham is caught offside.

55:40

Foul by Ashley Young (Manchester United).

55:40

Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

54:25

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Santiago Vergini.

54:23

Attempt blocked. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Javier Hernández.

51:25 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Adnan Januzaj replaces Nani.

50:52

Attempt missed. Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Phil Jones with a cross.

50:18

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Jack Colback.

48:38

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Jack Colback.

45:00

Second Half begins Manchester United 0, Sunderland 1.

45:00 +1:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Manchester United 0, Sunderland 1.

45:00 +1:01

Juan Mata (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +1:01

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

44:32

Attempt saved. Juan Mata (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

43:26

Hand ball by Patrice Evra (Manchester United).

35:22

Nani (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

35:22

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

34:55

Patrice Evra (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

34:55

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

32:02

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

32:02

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

30:55 Booking

Booking Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

30:50

Ashley Young (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

30:50

Foul by Marcos Alonso (Sunderland).

29:42 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester United 0, Sunderland 1. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Connor Wickham with a cross.

26:45

Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

25:42 Booking

Booking Michael Carrick (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

25:37

Foul by Michael Carrick (Manchester United).

25:37

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

23:35

Foul by Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United).

23:35

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:29

Attempt missed. Javier Hernández (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Darren Fletcher.

19:49

Attempt saved. Patrice Evra (Manchester United) header from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ashley Young with a cross.

19:00

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

18:08

Attempt missed. Nani (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Michael Carrick.

18:07

Attempt missed. Michael Carrick (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

17:07

Foul by Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United).

17:07

Connor Wickham (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

15:59

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by John O'Shea.

13:23

Attempt missed. Adam Johnson (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson.

12:28

Foul by Darren Fletcher (Manchester United).

12:28

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:21

Attempt missed. Ashley Young (Manchester United) header from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Phil Jones with a cross.

10:29

Darren Fletcher (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:29

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

8:01

Attempt missed. Juan Mata (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Darren Fletcher.

6:20

Attempt missed. Ashley Young (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

5:49

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

5:49

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

2:49

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

1:21

Javier Hernández (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

1:21

Foul by John O'Shea (Sunderland).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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