Januzaj win­ner lifts the pres­sure off new boss


Sun­der­land 1 Shrews­bury 0 AD­NAN JANUZAJ’S late stun­ner was good enough to win a cup tie far bet­ter than this snorefest.

Now all Sun­der­land fans are wait­ing for is David Moyes to com­plete a tre­ble dose of grim re­al­ity by play­ing down their EFL Cup hopes.

Af­ter pre­dict­ing a sea­son fight­ing against Premier League rel­e­ga­tion, and out­lin­ing the strug­gles he’s faced to add qual­ity to his thread­bare squad, the Black Cats man­ager (be­low) hasn’t been shy in telling it how it is to the club’s long-suf­fer­ing sup­port­ers.

The few who turned up at the Sta­dium of Light at least had a rare vic­tory to cel­e­brate, but they made hard work of find­ing a way past a Shrews­bury side lan­guish­ing near the foot of League One.

For the fifth con­sec­u­tive cam­paign, Sun­der­land’s first vic­tory of the sea­son came in the League Cup.

In game that will take some beat­ing for worst 90 min­utes of the sea­son, mid­fielder Steven Pien­aar briefly rose above the te­dium as the in­ter­val ap­proached, ad­vanc­ing from mid­way in­side the Shrews’ half to send a shot nar­rowly over from the edge of the area with keeper Jayson Leutwiler strug­gling to cover.

Leutwiler did well to block from Pa­trick van Aan­holt, af­ter the stand-in cap­tain swapped passes on the edge of the area with Joel Asoro, to sprint onto a deftly weighted re­turn pass from the debu­tant striker.

A tame glanc­ing header from Louis Dodds as the for­ward met a Ju­nior Brown ball into the box was the only threat of note for Black Cats keeper Jor­dan Pick­ford.

Leutwiler pro­duced an­other fine save to di­vert a sweetly-struck first­time ef­fort from Asoro, as the for­ward met Januzaj’s low cross at the near post a dozen yards from goal.

At the other end, Ivan Toney –the for­ward on loan from New­cas­tle – latched onto a loose ball to un­leash a shot which was des­tined for the top cor­ner un­til Pick­ford’s ac­ro­batic in­ter­ven­tion.

Januzaj fi­nally broke the dead­lock with seven min­utes left, cut­ting in­side from the right to find the top cor­ner with a pow­er­ful fin­ish. Ex­tra-time beck­oned when George War­ing had the goal at his mercy late on – only for the Shrews­bury sub to scuff his ef­fort wide.

SAV­ING GRACE Januzaj struck the win­ner just as Shrews­bury were threat­en­ing to up­set Moyes’ men

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