Manchester United endured a nightmare penalty shoot-out as Sunderland claimed a place in the Capital One Cup final at Old Trafford.
United scored just once from their five kicks, with only skipper Darren Fletcher converting, as the Black Cats’ two successes proved enough to book a Wembley date with Manchester City on March 2.
In a season of utter misery for United boss David Moyes, it was yet another hammer blow.
His side, who had lost the first leg 2-1 on Wearside a fortnight ago, had seemed to be on the verge of victory on the away goals rule thanks to Jonny Evans’ first-half goal as extra-time ticked away.
The Northern Irishman netted from close range after he lost his marker, ex-United man John O’Shea, and prodded home a corner kick diverted into his path by Danny Welbeck
But when Phil Bardsley let fly from 20 yards, David de Gea inexplicably allowed the former United man’s shot to slip through his grasp.
Amazingly, the drama was not yet over. United earned themselves a reprieve in injury time as they summoned up the spirit for which they are so famed. With the last attack of the match Adnan Januzaj crossed for Javier Hernandez to bundle home from close range.
Moyes might have hoped fortune was to smile on him.
Even in a ridiculously bad shoot-out, De Gea’s save from Adam Johnson meant Sunderland had only scored twice. But fragile confidence was not strong enough to carry them through a shoot-out in which, aside Fletcher, all the home side’s takers missed.
Welbeck and Phil Jones fired over, while low efforts from man of the match Januzaj and, decisively, Rafael were saved. It was shocking stuff.
Sunderland were not much better, with Craig Gardner blazing over and the efforts of Steven Fletcher and Johnson saved. But it was enough.