Sunderland 1-0 Shrewsbury: Adnan Januzaj seals maiden win for David Moyes
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 24/08/16 10:52pm
Adnan Januzaj struck late as Sunderland beat Shrewsbury 1-0 to seal their first victory under David Moyes and reach the third round of the EFL Cup.
The 21-year-old needed 83 minutes of a largely turgid cup-tie to find his range, blasting a right-footed shot past keeper Jayson Leutwiler to spare a crowd of just 13,979 at the Stadium of Light further punishment after back-to-back league defeats.
Having admitted his side is likely to be involved in another relegation battle after a pointless start to the Premier League campaign, Moyes may have welcomed the distraction of a cup game against lower league opposition, although injuries and a stagnant transfer market meant he was unable to make wholesale changes to his line-up.
Only 'keeper Jordan Pickford, who would have deputised for Vito Mannone even if he had not been injured, and midfielder Wahbi Khazri were not involved in Sunday's 2-1 home defeat by Middlesbrough.
Midfielders Lynden Gooch and Januzaj caught the eye in the early stages as they probed at a well-organised Shrewsbury defence, although without the necessary penetration to expose Leutwiler.
Januzaj and skipper-for-the-night Patrick van Aanholt both drilled free-kicks wastefully into the defensive wall before 34-year-old Steven Pienaar managed to create a little space for himself with a powerful 41st-minute surge towards the penalty area, only to lift his shot over the bar.
The visitors produced little threat either with Pickford fielding Louis Dodds' tame header without difficulty, and it was not until the stroke of half-time that Leutwiler was remotely threatened when he raced from his line to smother the ball before Van Aanholt could reach 17-year-old Joel Asoro's return pass.
Sunderland wasted their good work after the break with their inability to find a final ball, and makeshift central defender Jack Rodwell had to concede a 52nd-minute corner as Dodds threatened to show them how to do it at the other end.
Leutwiler produced a fine 58th-minute save to parry the impressive Asoro's snapshot from Januzaj's low cross, but it was Pickford at full-stretch five minutes later as he dived to is left to turn away Ivan Toney's stinging drive.
Khazri might have broken the deadlock with 10 minutes remaining when he fired into the side-netting from Van Aanholt's pull-back, but with extra-time looming, it was he who fed Januzaj for the Manchester United loanee to step on to his right foot and smash the ball past Leutwiler and win the tie.
Substitute George Waring should have levelled in stoppage time, but he sent his diving header from Junior Brown's cross wide from three yards.