Sunderland U23 2-0 PSV U23
Sunderland under-23s ended 2016 in style as they defeated Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven at the Stadium of Light on Friday.
Following a closely fought opening period both sides went into the break having cancelled each other out.
George Brady went closest to breaking the deadlock but glanced his header, from Elliot Embleton’s corner, over the bar.
Max Stryjek kept the Black Cats in the game with a string of fine stops at the start of the second period before Embleton provided the killer touch on 69 minutes.
Joel Asoro wheeled away down the right flank before unselfishly squaring the ball to Embleton to touch home.
Damian van Bruggen then stabbed wide from inside the six-yard box as PSV looked to strike back before Asoro provided the clinical thinking to seal victory.
The Swedish star slotted home George Honeyman’s squared pass to maintain the Lads' unbeaten run in the Premier League International Cup.
Andy Welsh recalled Embleton, Asoro and Josh Maja to his starting XI after the trio were rested for Sunday’s Premier League Cup match against Burnley.
Luke Moylneux’s impressive showing in that game earned him a starting berth on the right flank.
While PSV Eindhoven tasted success at the Stadium of Light last season, as they defeated the Black Cats to advance to the semi-finals of the same competition, Sunderland started brightly at a wind-swept Stadium of Light.
Elliot Embleton was his usual industrious self in the middle of the park while Maja and Asoro looked hungry up top as they chased down lost cause after lost cause.
Asoro’s pace in behind was vital and with 16 minutes played the Swede was sent tumbling as he raced clear of the Dutch defence.
Ethan Robson, known for his set-piece ability, sent a free-kick crashing into PSV’s stubborn wall before Emleton’s corner was narrowly glanced over by a towering George Brady.
Sunderland continued to build on their bright start, again Embleton was heavily involved as he picked out Tommy Robson out was hugging the left touchline.
The attack-minded full-back calmly picked out the smart movement of George Honeyman inside the area but he lashed his effort high over the bar.
PSV grew into the game and made life particularly challenging but the Black Cats remained their own worst enemy as they lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
Welsh shuffled his pack in the second period, Asoro moved out to the right flank to give himself the chance to open his legs, while Honeyman came into the centre with Maja playing on the shoulder of the final defender.
Albert Gudmundsson had the second period’s first opening as he drifted in behind and rounded Max Stryjek, but Embleton was there as Sunderland’s saving grace as he headed clear the skipper’s chipped cross.
Stryjek proved to be the busier keeper as Sunderland were forward to defend a pretty intense storm from the visitors as they looked to turn the screw.
The Black Cats though dealt with the brunt of PSV’s attacking threat well and turned the tables 69 minutes play as Embleton applied the finishing touches to a free-flowing move.
Asoro burst down the right flank, showed good feet to weave his way into the danger zone, before squaring the ball to Embleton to tap home from six yards.
Van Bruggen then fired wide from inside the six-yard box as PSV looked to strike back before Asoro provided the clinical thinking to seal victory.
The Swedish star slotted home Honeyman’s squared pass to maintain their unbeaten run in the Premier League International Cup.
Sunderland: Stryjek, J Robson (Brady, 80), T Robson, Brady, Ledger, Embleton, E Robson, Asoro, Honeyman, Maja (Nelson, 87), Molyneux (Lawson, 71)
Unused subs: Wright, Talbot, Blinco, Pybus, Casey
PSV: Van Osch, Kardes, Van Bruggen, Wijs (Alberto, 67), Carolina, Rosario, Gudmundsson, Paal, Lammers, Da Silva (Piroe, 77), Verreth
Unused subs: Abels, Deng, Rommens, van de Meulenhof