Sunderland held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Juan Mata’s close-range finish from an Antonio Valencia delivery gave United a first-half lead, but Jack Rodwell soon headed home his first Sunderland goal to restore parity.
United, playing in the much-debated 3-4-1-2 formation, struggled to fashion goal-scoring opportunities.
At the back, with manager Louis van Gaal having bemoaning his lack of defensive resources ahead of the game, the visitors never looked comfortable.
However, United probably did enough overall to deserve their first point of the new season, while it is now two draws from two so far for Sunderland.
Early on, Sunderland bossed the exchanges and the hosts had an excellent opportunity to take the lead when Will Buckley complemented a fine run by playing in Connor Wickham.
The striker, however, could only manage an off-target and weak finish.
United made the most of the let-off by taking the lead almost immediately afterwards, as Valencia fired a low cross through the legs of two Sunderland defenders for Mata to tap home from five yards.
After Wickham had threatened with a strike from distance, Sunderland hit back on the half-hour through Rodwell, who produced an accurate and powerful downward header to beat David De Gea from a Sebastian Larsson corner.
United had the better of the remainder of the half, but were forced to replace injured Chris Smalling before the break, as 21-year-old Michael Keane entered the fray.
Keane was at fault early in the second period as United almost fell behind, losing Wickham in the penalty area.
The big front-man’s half-volley following a neat build-up was going wide, but Tyler Blackett very nearly turned the effort into his own goal from the edge of the six-yard box.
The visitors responded well to the scare, delivering dangerous crosses into the Sunderland box before Mata was narrowly unable to take a Robin van Persie flick in his stride when through on goal.
The Dutchman, a minute or so later, could well have been awarded a penalty, but Santiago Vergini’s rather hefty challenge was adjudged to be legal by referee Martin Atkinson.
Larsson went relatively close with a free-kick, but United continued to be the more dangerous of the teams, as Vito Mannone raced from his goal to deny Ashley Young, following a pass in behind by substitute Danny Welbeck.
Mannone and Vergini gave the home faithful a late score, as the former slipped in trying to collect the latter’s back-pass, but the Sunderland defence managed to clear the danger.
The away side’s pressure persisted until the final whistle, but unlike many United teams of old, van Gaal’s men never looked particularly likely to break down their opponents’ at the death.