Sunderland’s first ever league win over Manchester United at the Stadium of Light gave the Black Cats a crucial victory to boost their survival chances.
Wahbi Khazri fired in his first Sunderland goal from 25 yards out after just three minutes, with Defoe jumping over the ball to deceive the Manchester United defence.
United levelled via Anthony Martial just six minutes from the break, but with eight minutes to go David de Gea deflected Lamine Kone’s shot into his own net to send the home fans into raptures.
Although the Black Cats remain second from bottom, they are now only one point from Norwich in seventeenth.
It was no less than the home team deserved. Despite having far less possession than the visitors, they managed 21 shots at goal – more than they have in any other game this season – and drew 15 fouls from the United players.
Jermain Defoe, who was poor by his standards, miss hit two glorious chances from six yards, whilst Patrick van Aanholt chose to shoot rather than pass to Borini in the second half.
An injury worry for the Lads is that Jan Kirchhoff was subbed off early on with a pulled hamstring. He was replaced by Jack Rodwell who made a crucial block to deny Mata a shot on goal.
Sunderland’s players now head to Dubai for some warm weather training, as they have the week to rest following their early exit from the FA Cup.
Sunderland: Mannone, Yedlin, Kone, O’Shea (c), van Aanholt, Kirchhoff (Rodwell, 15), N’Doye, Cattermole (Toivonen, 85), M’Vila, Khazri, Defoe (Borini, 71)
Substitutes: Pickford, Matthews, Brown, Rodwell, Honeyman, Toivonen, Borini
Manchester United: de Gea, Darmian (Love 37), Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Schneiderlin (Keane, 86), Carrick, Lingard (Memphis 62), Mata, Martial, Rooney
Substitutes: Romero, Love, Herrera, Pereira, Weir, Memphis, Keane
Booked: Yedlin (38, Simulation), O’Shea (45+1, Foul Play), Rooney (46, Foul Play), Mata (58, Foul Play), Carrick (59, Foul Play)
Goals: Khazri (3), Martial (39), de Gea (82 O.G.)
Referee: Andre Marriner