Report: Januzaj on target but U23s let lead slip

Sunderland U23 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur U23

Adnan Janzaj struck as Sunderland under-23s squandered a two-goal lead at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League 2 on Monday.

The Belgian featured for 56 minutes and inspired the Black Cats to go in front early on as George Honeyman slammed the ball through a crowd of bodies on 11 minutes.

Lynden Gooch was then stretchered off to add further worry in the treatment room for David Moyes who was watching on, before Januzaj gave the 53-year-old something to smile about as he raced cleared to double the host’s lead.

Shilow Tracey then halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time before levelling the fixture nine minutes into the second period with an arrowed effort which flew into the top corner to ensure the points were split.

With four wins in as many matches, the Black Cats approached the game riding high on the crest of a wave and with hopes of making it five straight wins.

Januzaj started up top alongside Josh Maja while Donald Love, Gooch and Mika were also included in Andy Welsh’s starting XI as they clocked some valuable minutes.

After a steady start, the hosts turned the screw with just over 10 minutes played as Honeyman rammed the ball home through a crowd of players.

Gooch’s low cross fell kindly for the Beekeeper and while Maja had a swing at it Honeyman was on hand to fire home.

Spurs responded well to going behind and for the next 10 minutes lay siege on the Black Cats goal as Tracey forced Mika to make a smart stop at his near post.

Hampered with injuries in the first-team, Moyes watched on anxiously as Gooch was stretchered off with less than half an hour played.

It was another blow for Moyes but as play resumed the Black Cats continued to work hard, Maja tracked back to make two fine blocks on the edge of his own before latching onto a superb 50-yard pass from Ethan Robson.

Maja brought the searching ball under his spell expertly but was unable to match it with a weighted pass into Elliot Embleton’s feet as he was forced wide.

Spurs dominated the general ebb and flow of the game and that forced Sunderland to be patient as they looked to pick their opponents off.

And that’s exactly what they did as Januzaj raced cleared from inside his own half before calmly burying the ball into the bottom corner to double the Lads’ lead on 39 minutes.

However, the Black Cats weren’t given any respite and following a momentary lapse in concentration Tracey got in behind to halve the deficit on the stroke of half time.

Spurs continued to apply pressure at the start of the second period, Shayon Harrison warmed the gloves of Mika before Connor Ogilvie failed to convert a header from close range.

Sunderland were struggling to deal with the siege mentality the visitors had, and with 54 minutes on the clock Tracey rifled home from 12 yards to deservedly draw Spurs level.

Joel Asoro replaced Januzaj with 56 minutes played as the Black Cats tried to steady to ship, Maja saw his header kept out by Paul Lopez before Spurs’ stopper was called into action moments later to deny Asoro’s venomous strike.

From there, both sides continued to trade blows as the game petered into a midfield battle with plenty of blood, sweat and tears.

But neither side were able to conjure up a winning goal and the Black Cats were forced to settle for a point as their winning run came to a halt.

Sunderland: Mika, J Robson, T Robson, Love, Ledger, Brady, Honeyman, E Robson, Maja (Molyneux, 90), Gooch (Embleton, 27), Januzaj (Asoro, 56)

Unused subs: Stryjek, Casey

Tottenham Hotspur: Lopez, Walker-Peters, Ogilvie, Amos (Brown, 90), Walkes, Owens, Tracey, Stylianides, Harrison, Goddard (Muscat, 80), Pritchard

Unused subs: Glover, Omolabi, Lock

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