Sunderland 0-0 Stoke City U21 (Sunderland win 4-2 on penalties)
Robbin Ruiter was Sunderland’s hero in the shootout as they collected the bonus point following a goalless draw against Stoke City in group A.
Following 90 minutes of action which saw few chances for either side, penalties were therefore needed to determine the winner of the extra point.
And Ruiter was the hero of the hour, saving two penalties as Sunderland ran out 4-2 winners with Hume netting the decisive one.
Jack Ross made eight changes to his line-up, with Charlie Wyke, Tom Flanagan and Dylan McGeouch handed their first start in red and white. Robbin Ruiter also replaced Jon McLaughlin in goal while Denver Hume and Reece James also came in for Donald Love and Bryan Oviedo. Ethan Robson and Luke O’Nien started as Jerome Sinclair returned to the bench for the first time since picking up a hamstring injury in the Lads’ season opener against Charlton Athletic.
Sunderland began well, McGeouch quickly looking to run the show in the middle as he freed Hume down the right before O’Nien later saw his threaded pass through to Josh Maja cut out.
The Potters, meanwhile, were patient in their approach, sitting deep and looking to capitalise on set-pieces when, or if, they were able to mount a siege forward. And to be fair to them they were a touch unfortunate as Charlie Adam saw his deflected free-kick catch Ruiter out as it bounced wide of the mark.
Following a largely quiet 20 minutes, the Lads began to turn the screw with 25 played as Wyke’s physical prowess began to ask questions of the Potters backline as Hume and O’Nien sent in some crosses from the right.
The Black Cats did step it up a gear before half-time, Maja stinging the palms of Daniel Gyollai before Wyke spooned James’ pull-back into the air.
The second 45 followed the first-half in terms of its slow start. But Sunderland began to turn the screw shortly after the hour mark when a neat interchange between James and Maguire down the left almost picked out Robson darting into the box.
Hume recycled possession on the opposite flank and smartly cut inside before forcing Gyollai into action with an arrowed strike from distance.
Maja made way for Sinclair with 65 minutes played, and he was quickly involved in the action as he pulled away down the right and won a corner as his cross towards Wyke was blocked behind.
Chris Maguire then smacked the angle between post and bar off a sweetly struck free-kick from the left as the Lads looked to ramp it up in the final quarter, but that opening never came and it finished level.
Penalties were therefore needed to determine the winner of the extra point, and Ruiter was the hero of the hour, saving two penalties as Sunderland ran out 4-2 winners with Hume netting the decisive one.
Sunderland: Ruiter, Hume, James, Ozturk, Flanagan, McGeouch, O’Nien, Robson, Maguire (Molyneux, 77), Maja (Sinclair, 65), Wyke (Kimpioka, 75)
Subs: Stryjek, Love, Taylor, Hackett
Stoke City U21: Gyollai, Bauer, Tymon, Adam (Waddington, 65), Campbell, Sorensen, Shenton, Souttar, Collins, Jarvis, Pemrerton (Szerto, 85)
Subs: Kyeremateng, Deczki, Forrester, Thandi, Butler