Blackburn U23s 0 Sunderland U23s 1: Josh Maja goal sees Cats top Premier League Cup group

Sunderland Under-23 boss Elliott Dickman
Sunderland Under-23 boss Elliott Dickman
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Josh Maja scored the only goal of the game as Sunderland Under-23s beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 to win their Premier League Cup group.

Both sides went into the game safe in the knowledge they had already qualified but victory saw Elliott Dickman’s youngsters leapfrog Rovers and win the group.

Ex-Sunderland defender Wes Brown, who was released last summer, started in central defence for Rovers.

But he was powerless to prevent Maja from opening the scoring 24 minutes in, the 18-year-old striker with a cool finish after being played in by Elliot Embleton.

Blackburn dug deep in the second half but rarely tested Sunderland keeper James Talbot at a wind-swept Blackburn Rovers Academy.

New Zealand international Sam Brotherton got a further 90 minutes with his second start in a week for the Under-23s, who bounced back from the defeat against Burnley on Monday to win the group.

Victory saw Sunderland win Group B, with both teams progressing to the knockout stages with their next opponents yet to be confirmed.

Sunderland: Talbot, J Robson, Hume, Brady, Brotherton, Embleton, Wright, E Robson, Molyneux, Asoro (Gamble, 77), Maja. Subs not used: Casey, Stryjek, Allan, Diamond