And that is that! United grab a much needed win, thanks to Nani's wonderful first-half finish. Sunderland huffed and puffed but never looked like blowing the house down. The title race goes to the final day of the season — isn't that what all neutrals really wanted?
Substitution Nani Owen Hargreaves
WELCOME BACK MR HARGREAVES! Owen gets on to the pitch for the first time since September 2008. Nani, the goalscorer and hero of the hour, is withdrawn.
OOOOOH! Finally a decent delivery, and although Michael Turner rises to meet it he is challenged by United defenders and the ball sails harmlessly wide.
Three minutes added time. Sunderland kick it off with a corner...
We're approaching the end of normal time. Can Sunderland manafacture one last attempt? They've been fairly well contained by United in this second half.
Sunderland dispute a corner award, Bardsley believing he kept the ball in. Giggs swings the ball in, but yet again it is cleared by the first man. Terrible.
Substitution Darren Fletcher Rio Ferdinand
Hello, hello, hello — the England captain is in the house. Rio Ferdinand replaces Darren Fletcher. Rio's brother, Anton, remains in the stands for Sunderland. 1-0 Rio.
Richardson picks up a yellow, having been sent off last time these two sides met. Sunderland striving to get an equaliser, but perhaps trying too hard on occasions.
Yellow Card Kieran Richardson
AMBiTIOUS ATTEMPT FROM CAMPBELL! The former United prodigy (lest we forget) attempts an acrobatic bicycle kick as Malbranque's cross hangs behind him. But he can only sky the ball high over the bar.
Malbranque picks up a yellow card for a late, late challenge on Evans. Possibly a red that. Very nasty.
Yellow Card Steed Malbranque
Darren Bent hasn't really done his England chances too much good today. He's not been awful, but hardly shown he can be a threat against top-class defences.
Another corner for Sunderland, another clearance at the near post by United. Nobody's going to go digging in the archives for this display of set-piece prowess...
OFF THE LINE for UNITED! Rooney is beaten to a 50/50 by Gordon, but the ball falls to Nani who lays it off to Carrick. The sub's passed shot is cleared away off the line by Turner! VITAL STOP!
Cattermole has a dig.... it goes wide.
Substitution Jordan Henderson Kenwyne Jones
Now Sunderland make their final change of the game — and this time it isn't due to injury! Jordan Henderson comes off after a decent shift, and Kenwyne Jones comes on. Now Sunderland have three strikers on the field. Game on?
'Nightmare' is probably a bit harsh, but at any rate he won't look back fondly on his game. Rooney on his own up front now — seems to be flagging slightly but just volleyed a first-time shot agonizingly wide.
Substitution Dimitar Berbatov Michael Carrick
Berbatov's nightmare day is over. Could have had a hat-trick, instead he has none. Carrick replaces him.
... Which is also cleared, in case you were wondering. After another deep ball in towards Cana, Van der Sar finally gets his hands on the ball.
Sunderland finally force a corner after something of a chess match in midfield. The ensuing ball is headed clear by Giggs, and then Cattermole's speculative volley is blocked. Kilgallon eventually forces another corner....
Both teams seem to be taking a bit of a breather, the ball flying around like a pinball in midfield.
Now United have their own injury concerns. Goalscorer Nani lands awkwardly after a late challenge from Cattermole, locking his knee. After a bit of treatment he looks ready to continue.
Sunderland respond well, building their own attack. The ball eventually falls to Cana, who ignores his first half experiment and tries another long range drive. Same result — slice into the stands. He can't say he wasn't warned.
Replays of the Bardsley/Giggs incident seem to vindicate Bennett's call. Perhaps a slight touch from the winger, but Bardsley went down very easy. 5.7 for artistic merit on that one.
THIS IS NOT BERBATOV'S DAY!! The striker rises to meet a cross at the near post, barely three yards out, but somehow the ball deflects over for a corner when it looked easier to score! From the resulting corner, an attempted Scholes volley is easily blocked.
Yellow Card Phil Bardsley
BIG CALL! Former United youth player Bardsley receives the ball clean through inside the box, and falls seemingly after a trip from Giggs. But rather than awarding a penalty, Bennett gives him a yellow for simulation!
Booking for Rooney. The England man invokes Bennett's ire after a petulant kick at Cana after a tussle for the ball. Bit of frustration boiling over there, perhaps.
Yellow Card Wayne Rooney
United starting to turn the screw. This time Rooney opts to shoot himself, after wriggling free on the edge of the box. He attempts to chip Gordon (who is barely a yard off his line) but the ball drifts harmlessly over.
OH NO BERBATOV! The Bulgarian fails to finish off a fine team move, flicking the ball over from two yards out with the whole goal to aim at! Rooney's cross fed him the chance... he HAD to do better!
Oooooooah! Nani denied a second golf after a fine point-blank save from Craig Gordon. That would have been some way to start the second half!
Open start to the second half, with United on the attack. But neither keeper tested yet.
Wayne Rooney gets us back underway...
And Steve Bennett blows for half-time. United lead thanks to Nani's clinical finish from one of the better openings in the half. United look dangerous, but if Sunderland can get their act together they look like they might yet have a goal in them.
Sunderland nearly go in at 1-1! Another Malbranque cross is flicked on, but Evra on the goal-line dives out to head away the danger.
And now the Berbatov-haters have their ammunition. United break clear, and Rooney gets the ball on the edge of the box. He out-foxes the defence with a fine reverse ball that finds Berbatov in acres of space, but he slices his first time shot from 10 yards out horrendously wide. Very, very poor.
Some more great work from Sunderland releases Kilgallon down the left, but his cross is wildly overhit. Pretty much sums up their first half — plenty of industry but not quite enough quality.
Four added minutes at the end of this first half. Evra celebrates that fact with a surging run forward and a through ball finds him, but his prodded shot is easy for Gordon.
Disappointing for Berbatov. Rooney carries the ball 70 yards from the edge of his own area, and feeds the Bulgarian on the edge of the Sunderland box. Berba has a good chance to shoot, but attempts to cut inside the defender and is tackled with ease.
Cana (to my knowledge not a man with a history of 30-yard wondergoals in his locker) fancies his luck to change and unleashes a rocket from 35 yards out. It slices high and wide into the stands. Not again, please.
Yellow Card Nemanja Vidic
A Vidic slip hands Sunderland a corner. Some sarcastic clapping from the Serbian (he evidently thought he was fouled) earns him a booking. Malbranque's corner, once again, is punched clear by the goalkeeper....
Rooney rides two brutal challenges — good news for those worrying about his fitness pre-World Cup — and breaks down the left. His tenacity is rewarded with a free kick, which Giggs swings in and Turner clears.
Substitution David Meyler Lee Cattermole
Injury David Meyler
Sunderland struggling with injuries. This time it is young David Meyler who goes down, and after a few minutes of assessment the midfielder is stretched off. Lee Cattermole is his replacement...
The crowd are getting into this, especially as Sunderland seem unafraid to attack even though they have nothing to play for. But that final ball, or indeed any ball that can open up United, is sorely lacking at the moment...
Sunderland try and hit back. Malbranque swings in a free-kick from the byline that Van der Sar has to parry away, before another corner is cleared by Giggs. Some decent set-piece deliveries, and the home side could get back into this game...
Before that goal so rudely interrupted me I was going to comment on Berbatov's day so far. He's been a decent attacking presence for his side, certainly not too much for his critics to complain about. And decent involvement for that goal, too....
GOL! GOL! GOOOOOOOL! That's quality from United, in the end at least. Berbatov, Rooney and Fletcher combine to get the ball out to Nani on the right hand side of the box, and he buries the ball past Gordon into the far corner. THE TITLE RACE IS STILL ALIVE!
AND SUNDERLAND HIT RIGHT BACK! Entertaining game here, as Sunderland launch another attack. Malbranque — probably the best player on the pitch so far — gets the ball 30 yards out and hits a fine shot that Van der Sar has to tip over at full stretch! The resulting corner is cleared....
SO CLOSE! United are the stereotypical counter-attack side at the minute, but they do it so well. Evra breaks free down the left, and passes the ball into Giggs, who jinks onto his left foot and unleashes a rasping drive that flicks the bar as it rises over! Gordon was nowhere near it!
This isn't too impressive from United. First Bent and then Malbranque are denied great chances in the box after some slightly panicky defending. Only a fortuitous free-kick given to Evra relieves the pressure...
Substitution John Mensah Matthew Kilgallon
Early substitution for the home side. John Mensah limps off for an early bath. Matt Kilgallon is his replacement.
Sunderland starting to apply a bit of pressure here. Malbranque swings a free kick in from the left, and Lorik Cana gets a touch on it as it flies just over the bar. Van der Sar was nothing more than a spectator as that whizzed by...
A warning shot from SUNDERLAND! First corner of the game is swung into the near post, and John Mensah rises unmarked to connect with it! Unfortunately, the big Ghanaian cannot steer his header on target, as it balloons wide of goal.
It's early days but Rooney has already had a couple of good touches. Doesn't seem to be showing too many after-effects of his recent injury issues.
First decent bit of pressure from Sunderland, with a few dangerous balls thrown into the box without finding an attacker. Crowd scream at Malbranque to 'SHOOT' when he gets the ball on the edge of the box, but he is closed down and the ball cleared.
United continue to pass the ball around, with Sunderland looking to break away after any mistakes. The Black Cats have reverted to a 4-4-2 (with Campbell supporting Bent) after seeing United's attacking formation.
First chance — predictably — falls to Wayne ROONEY! His driven shot after a great piece of control is parried away by Craig Gordon, and Ryan Giggs' follow up shot is blocked by the defender with the goal gaping.
United have taken control of this match early, passing the ball around in midfield with purpose...
An error from Richardson gives Nani the opportunity to deliver the first meaningful ball of the game, but his cross is too deep and is cleared comfortably...
And Darren Bent gets us underway...
Today's referee, for those of you who care about such matters, is Kent's finest Steve Bennett. He's making some final checks before getting us underway...
Sir Alex admitted before the game his disappointment that Liverpool didn't manage to take any points off Chelsea at Anfield. Will that affect the performances of his players? We will find out in a few minutes, as the players lineup in the tunnel...
What about United? The big news sees Wayne Rooney thrown back into action, despite fears he would miss the remainder of the season through injury. Under-fire Dimitar Berbatov is paired with him — Sir Alex is clearly after the goals his side desperately need. United team: Van der Sar; O'Shea, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney.
Let's start with the team news. Steve Bruce names a strong lineup, with all Chelsea fans looking to top scorer Darren Bent to pop up with another crucial goal. Kieran Richardson operates from an increasingly familiar defensive role against the team he started his career at. Sunderland team: Gordon; Bardsley, Turner, Mensah, Richardson; Henderson, Meyler, Cana, Malbranque; Campbell, Bent.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary from the Stadium of Light as Manchester United face a must-win game against Sunderland. I'm Alex Dimond, and I will be narrating events today. Chelsea's win earlier in the day means realistically United must win to take the title race to the last day — can they manage it, or will former Old Trafford hero Steve Bruce and his players throw a spanner in the works?
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed