Match ends, Sunderland 1, Manchester United 1.
- United now have one point from a possible six this season
- Sunderland's Jack Rodwell levels after Juan Mata opener
- Ashley Young booked for diving
- Chris Smalling adds to Louis van Gaal's injury woes
Manchester United's stuttering start to life under manager Louis van Gaal continued with a Premier League draw at Sunderland.
Things looked rosy for the Reds when Juan Mata pounced on Antonio Valencia's deflected cross to give them an early lead from close range.
But poor marking allowed Jack Rodwell - making his home debut - to head in Seb Larsson's corner after half an hour.
To add to United's troubles, Ashley Young was booked for diving.
The winger, criticised for going down too easily by former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, fell in the area following a challenge from ex-United defender Wes Brown, and referee Martin Atkinson had no hesitation in reaching for his pocket.
Before the match, Van Gaal said United would need a "miracle" to win the Premier League, and there was further evidence on Sunday to add weight to his gloomy prediction following last weekend's 2-1 home defeat by Swansea City.
The Dutchman, who took over in the summer, persisted with a 3-4-1-2 formation and, while his side look bright going forward, they remained fragile at the back.
Angel Di Maria, the Real Madrid winger, is expected to arrive before the transfer window closes on 1 September for a British record fee, but Van Gaal may seek further reinforcements.
Mata's 17th-minute strike failed to settle the visitors and their nervy backline was given a warning when Connor Wickham turned on a throw in yards of space and shot wide.
United were exposed moments later when Rodwell, whose opportunities were limited at Manchester City before his summer move to the Stadium of Light, beat Valencia at the near post to power a header past David De Gea.
United, without ineligible new signing Marcos Rojo, lost defender Chris Smalling to a hamstring injury to add to an injury list that now features eight first-team players, including midfielder Ander Herrera.
In a second half high on energy but low on quality, Wickham volleyed at youngster Tyler Blackett, who saw the ball rebound past De Gea's near post.
Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone had to be quick off his line to deny Young as both sides pressed for a winner in a tense finale.
The Black Cats have not beaten United in a Premier League match at home since 1997, but there were several positives for manager Gus Poyet after a vibrant performance.
Winger Will Buckley, signed from Brighton in the summer, was a constant menace, while Rodwell's goal was a welcome reward for 63 minutes' action following his unsuccessful spell at Etihad Stadium.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet: "It was a good game to watch. We played a very good first half, going forward taking chances and creating half opportunities after conceding at what was the wrong time really because we were in control of the game. It was a big effort.
"We made a few decisions on how to play against a different system and the boys have done exceptionally well. We showed that we were organised and difficult to play against.
"The goal from Jack Rodwell was perfect for a home debut. There are plenty of positives. It's important we started better than last year and that was key. Will Buckley played well and was incisive as well."
On Fabio Borini, the Liverpool target, who has been offered a Sunderland contract: "We're getting close to a final decision either way because it's been a bit too long.
"It's time now that it's a 'yes' coming or a 'no' as we need to move on."
Check out the best photos from Saturday's Premier League games on the BBC Sport Facebook page.
- 3van Aanholt
- 8RodwellSubstituted forGomez Garcia-Pencheat 63'minutes
- 30BuckleySubstituted forBridcuttat 79'minutes
- 9FletcherSubstituted forAltidoreat 77'minutes
- 14Gomez Garcia-Penche
- 1de Gea
- 12SmallingSubstituted forKeaneat 44'minutes
- 25A Valencia
- 24FletcherSubstituted forJanuzajat 63'minutes
- 23CleverleyBooked at 67mins
- 18YoungBooked at 62mins
- 20van PersieSubstituted forWelbeckat 63'minutes
- Martin Atkinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sunderland 1, Manchester United 1.
Attempt missed. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by John O'Shea (Sunderland).
Foul by Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).
Jordi Gómez (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt blocked. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Ashley Young (Manchester United) because of an injury.
Attempt saved. Ashley Young (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Michael Keane.
Attempt blocked. Ashley Young (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jozy Altidore.
Substitution, Sunderland. Liam Bridcutt replaces William Buckley.
Attempt missed. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Tom Cleverley.
Substitution, Sunderland. Jozy Altidore replaces Steven Fletcher.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by John O'Shea.
Attempt missed. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.
Foul by Michael Keane (Manchester United).
Jordi Gómez (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.