Rooney double returns Man Utd to third

Wayne Rooney inspired Manchester United to a 2-0 Barclays Premier League win over 10-man Sunderland that returned his side to third in the table.

Sunderland had come away from Old Trafford with a 1-0 victory and early openings for Connor Wickham and Jermain Defoe suggested the hosts could have a similarly uncomfortable afternoon.

Ashley Young come close to giving United the lead when his first-half effort was diverted against the crossbar by John O’Shea. The Sunderland captain and Wes Brown were at the centre of the game’s decisive moment in the 64th minute. Radamel Falcao was fouled under pressure from the two centre-backs to concede a penalty, with Brown shown a red card by referee Roger East.

Rooney, who was starting up-front as Louis van Gaal made five changes to his starting XI, converted from the spot and added a second in the 84th minute to ensure United bounced back from a 2-1 defeat to Swansea City last time out, keeping their bid for UEFA Champions League qualification on track.

The goal also ended an eight-match run in the Barclays Premier League for Rooney without a goal.

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