Late own goal dooms Man United to loss at Sunderland
SUNDERLAND, England (AP) — A late own goal by goalkeeper David de Gea consigned Manchester United to a 2-1 loss at relegation-threatened Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday, dealing another blow to the team's ambitions of finishing in the Champions League qualification places.
Anthony Martial, who had equalized for United, cleared a header from Lamine Kone off the goal line but the ball ricocheted off De Gea's back and went into the net in the 82nd minute.
Wahbi Khazri put Sunderland ahead in the third minute when his curling free kick eluded everyone in the penalty area and bounced into the net. Martial made it 1-1 with a close-range finish in the 39th.
United's first ever loss at the Stadium of Light piles the pressure on its manager Louis van Gaal, whose team is fifth — six points off the top four having played a game more.
"It will be very difficult now," Van Gaal said of United's chances of qualifying for the Champions League through its league placing. "It's too much at this time.
"I think after this match, (winning the Europa League) is the best route but that's not so easy. There are many very good teams participating in this event."
Asked about his own future, the Dutchman said: "I have to do my work and I do my work to my utmost best and I cannot do more."
His team had 66 percent of the possession but managed only half as many shots as a Sunderland side that remains in the drop zone.
United, which — with 41 points — has its lowest points haul in a Premier League campaign after 26 games, was outplayed and outfought in the second half after coming back into the game late in the first half.
"I think Sunderland had more aggression than us and we could not cope with that aggression," Van Gaal said. We don't keep the ball too much in our possession."
Van Gaal, who has spent $375 million in his 1½-year tenure, finished the game with 21-year-old Premier League debutant Donald Love and striker Will Keane — making his second Premier League appearance and first since the 2010-11 season — in the team.