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At the other end, Adam Johnson stepped inside from the right flank and sent a low shot marginally wide of the far post.
United almost took the lead in the 18th minute when John O'Shea sliced a cross just wide, before Nani flashed a 20-yard effort over the bar and Patrice Evra bundled a header towards goal that was held comfortably by Mannone.
The home side pinned Sunderland inside their own half for the majority of the first half, but after 30 minutes, the visitors took the lead.
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Recently-crowned Premier League Player of the Month Connor Wickham whipped a cross into the penalty area, where Sebastian Larsson arrived to sweep home a volley into the far corner and put Sunderland ahead.
On the stroke of half time, Juan Mata drilled a low shot towards goal from 25 yards, but Mannone dived to his left and held on to the effort.
Shortly after the break, Nani released Evra with a backheel and Javier Hernandez looked ready to pounce from six yards, but Wes Brown made a good, diving block to deny the Mexican. From the resulting corner, Nemanja Vidic headed wide from close range amid appeals for handball against Jack Colback.
In the 63rd minute, Phil Jones, Vidic and Hernandez all came close to netting for United in a goalmouth scramble, before Emanuele Giaccherini struck the post with a half-volley from Jozy Altidore's cross from the right wing.
With 10 minutes remaining, Hernandez blazed an effort over the bar, while at the other end Sunderland struck the woodwork for the third time as Fabio Borini saw his curling effort cannon off the underside of the bar.
The result - combined with Cardiff City's 3-0 loss and Stoke City's 4-1 win over Fulham - means that Norwich City must pick up at least four points from their remaining two games, while hoping the Black Cats lose their final two matches.