Sunderland are 90 minutes away from the League Cup final after an exhilarating 2-1 win over Manchester United last night.
The Black Cats simply have to avoid defeat at Old Trafford – where David Moyes’ side have lost five times already this season – to book their place at Wembley.
Nemanja Vidic pulled his side back into the game with a header from Tom Cleverley’s 52nd-minute corner. But rather than wilting, Sunderland came again, inspired by susbtitute Adam Johnson. His run drew a foul from Cleverely – perhaps outside the area – and Fabio Borini, a scorer in the quarter-final against Chelsea, converted the penalty.
The only disappointment for the Black Cats was the crowd of 31,547 for the televised game, their third at the Stadium of Light in seven days.
The second leg is on January 22.
Meanwhile, reports in Italy suggest Cabral will join Genoa on loan until the end of the season, with the option of a €1.5m permanent move.
The midfielder has made one appearance since joining on a free transfer from Basel, and was not involved in Sunday’s FA Cup win over Carlisle United.
Central defender Modibo Diakite is also attracting interest from Serie A, with Lazio reportedly considering a move. Cabral’s departure could quickly be offset, with Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Liam Bridcutt handing in a transfer request.