|CHAMPIONS MAN UTD|
|Sunderland 1-1 MAN UNITED|
|Roy Keane's red card for elbowing former Republic team-mate Jason McAteer overshadowed Manchester United's 1-1 draw at Sunderland.
United skipper Keane and midfielder McAteer started a running battle midway through the second half of the game which culminated in another dismissal for the controversial former Republic of Ireland star.
United took just seven minutes to open the scoring after Sunderland failed to clear their lines from a David Beckham free-kick. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer flicked the ball into Ryan Giggs' path and the Welsh winger buried his shot past Thomas Sorensen.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men went on to dominate the first half with Laurent Blanc and Rio Ferdinand - on his first Premiership appearance since making a record-breaking switch from Leeds in the summer - combining well at the heart of the Reds defence.
But United failed to turn their possession into goals and Sunderland's recent £6.75m signing Tore Andre Flo, who has scored in his first game for his last two clubs, was on hand to fire home on 70 minutes on his full debut.
Flo was deployed alongside Kevin Phillips with Paul Thirlwell dropping to the bench, but there was no place in the 16-man squad for fellow new arrival Marcus Stewart.
Manchester United were forced to wait to include Ricardo after the Spain keeper's international clearance failed to arrive in time.
McAteer almost pulled his side level immediately after Giggs' opener but Roy Carroll saved at full stretch to deny the midfielder. Chances for Giggs, Solskjaer and Keane followed as United threatened to run riot but poor finishing saw them fail to extend the lead before the break.
Ferguson's injury problems also took a turn for the worse in the first half after Mikael Silvestre limped out of the action on 27 minutes.
Sunderland were almost back on terms early in the second half but Joachim Bjorklund's effort was cleared on to the roof of his own net by Juan Sebastian Veron.
The Black Cats were eventually rewarded after Flo announced his arrival back in the Premiership with a scrambled effort 20 minutes from time after McAteer's shot broke into his path.
United had chances to win it near the end through Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy but could find no way past Sorensen.
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