SUNDERLAND - Manchester United crashed to a third consecutive loss for the first time since 2001 after going down 2-1 at Sunderland on Tuesday in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final.
United were looking to bounce back from successive home defeats by Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League and Swansea City in the FA Cup, but they lost to the EPL's bottom side.
Ryan Giggs, who had earlier hit the crossbar, gifted Sunderland the lead with an own-goal and, despite Nemanja Vidic equalising early in the second half, Fabio Borini's 65th-minute penalty gave the hosts victory.
Having eliminated Chelsea in the previous round, Sunderland remain on course to reach a first domestic cup final since 1992, when they lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup final.
For United manager David Moyes, the gloom grows ever darker, with his hopes of claiming a piece of major domestic silverware in his maiden season severely compromised ahead of the second leg on January 22.
Both managers made seven changes to the sides they fielded in the FA Cup at the weekend, although United were again without injured Wayne Rooney.
Eager to exploit any uncertainty, Sunderland looked to get balls into the box at the earliest opportunity and Borini dragged an early shot wide from just outside the area.