Okpala was sacked on Monday night.
Loic Remy hit the post early on but Rangers had to play for 70 minutes with 10 men after Bobby Zamora was sent off for a high challenge on Jordi Gomez.
The Italian had the start he wanted when Cesar Azpilicueta's own goal gave Sunderland a surprise lead moments before half-time.
The Italian was appointed boss of the Premier League club on Sunday following the dismissal of Martin O'Neill.
Ba's athletic finish early in the second half leaves United concentrating on winning the Premier League title - with a 20th title all but secured as they currently hold a 15-point advantage.
Defenders David Luiz and Ashley Cole, as well as midfielder Eden Hazard, were among those left out as Chelsea dropped from third to fourth in the table.
United remain 15 points clear at the top of the table with eight games left after a 1-0 win at Sunderland.
The Black Cats sit only one point above the Premier League relegation zone, with Saturday's defeat by Manchester United their eighth game without a win.
The 26-year-old athlete, who has run at both the Olympics and Paralympics, is charged with murdering his girlfriend but will be allowed to travel abroad after challenging his bail terms.
Platini, 57, said he would rather the money was spent on youth football.
The 21-year-old has not played since suffering the problem in Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on 3 March.
AS Varese attacking winger, Nnamdi Oduamadi, scored a goal at the death as African champions, Nigeria, could only salvage a point against Kenya in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
- Nigeria, Kenya Vie For World Cup Points
- Ideye Misses Emenike Partnership
- Ghana Through To Semis And World Cup
- Malaysian GP: Sebastian Vettel Takes Pole For Red Bull In Wet
- Tiger Woods Eyes World Number One Spot At Arnold Palmer Event
- I Respect Keshi - Amrouche
- Martins On Fire In Eagles' Camp
- Mikel Declared Fit For Kenya
- UDUAGHAN AND SPORTS
- W/CUP QUALIFIER: MIKEL, MARTINS, MOSES STORM CAMP TODAY
- IMOKE LEADS EAGLES INTO CALABAR
- GLO THROWS WEIGHT BEHIND FLYING EAGLES
- FCT MINISTER DONATES BUS FOR GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL
- CAF CHAMPS: HEARTLAND SECURES HOME WIN, RANGERS DRAW GOALESS IN BURUNDI
- NIGERIA QUALIFIES FOR WORLD VOLLEYBALL CHAMPS
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