ALL ADS UP FOR MOYES
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