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Manchester United held goalless!

Sunderland held overwhelming favourites to a shock draw at Old Trafford on Saturday but were still relegated despite their battling display.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 13:40 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Sunderland held Manchester United to a shock 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Saturday but were still relegated despite their battling display.

United are six points behind leaders Chelsea before the champions visit Bolton Wanderers tomorrow now needing just seven points from five games to retain the title.

Sunderland, rooted to the bottom with 12 points from 33 games, cannot now catch 17th placed Birmingham City and swiftly return to the second division after promotion as champions.

United were overwhelming favourites to pick up three points in their late bid to catch Chelsea in the title race but ran into a Sunderland team determined to go down fighting.

Alex Ferguson's side dominated play and created countless chances but inspired goalkeeper Kelvin Davis managed to keep strikers Wayne Rooney and Ruud Van Nistelrooy at bay.

In the first half man-of-the-match Davis produced sparkling saves to deny Ryan Giggs and Rooney before Sunderland went close through Liam Lawrence and Jon Stead, who hit the side netting.

UNITED PRESSURE

After the break United piled on the pressure but Sunderland refused to wilt as Van Nistelrooy just failed to connect with the ball in front of an open goal after Davis misjudged a cross.

Just after the hour mark Davis saved from Cristiano Ronaldo before coming up with another breathtaking stop low to his right to turn away a snap-shot on the turn from Van Nistlerooy.

As the home fans in a 72,519 crowd cranked up the volume to encourage United to break the deadlock, Sunderland defended in numbers but even four minutes of added time was not long enough.

Sunderland were the first team to keep a clean sheet at Old Trafford this season as they ended United's run of nine straight Premier League wins and boosted Chelsea's title bid.

"If you come to Manchester United and keep them out it's a fantastic performance and we could possibly have even won the match," Sunderland captain Gary Breen told Sky Sports.

"It has been a tough season for a lot of our players. It was a bit too much this year in terms of experience.

First Published: Apr 15, 2006 13:40 IST