Anthony Martial scored a crucial equaliser for Manchester United just minutes before half-time as they head into the interval at 1-1 against Sunderland.
The Frenchman threatened to create something down the left flank in the closing stages of the first period, but saw his pass diverted back out to Juan Mata who forced Vito Mannone into a smart save.
However, the Italian shot-stopper could only parry the ball into the path of Martial, who remained alert and produced a clever dink finish to wipe out the lead for the hosts after Wahbi Khazri had given them an early lead.
United have put together a three-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and Louis van Gaal’s side have undoubtedly played better football during that period.
The Dutch tactician will be desperate to continue to build on that momentum as they can ill-afford to drop any more points given that they trail rivals Manchester City by six points in their pursuit of the fourth and final Champions League spot.
It promises to be a difficult task at the Stadium of Light with the hosts fighting for their own objective in avoiding relegation, and Sam Allardyce’s side certainly enjoyed a strong start to the game which they will hope to replicate in the second half.