Adnan Januzaj earns Sunderland some relief with winning goal against Shrewsbury
Adnan Januzaj's first goal for Sunderland handed David Moyes his maiden competitive victory as the Black Cats edged past League One Shrewsbury and into the EFL Cup third round.
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 on a night when victory was the only option.
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 opt for the now customary wholesale change in 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, and the bench had a distinctly youthful look about it with Ethan, Tommy and Josh Robson all named among the substitutes.
Once again, 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 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.
Source : DSG