Provoking goal celebrations, Sunderland's pressing game plus Leon Dajaku's return: Moments you may have missed against Manchester United U21s
Sunderland progressed to the knockout stages of the Papa John’s Trophy after a 2-1 win over Manchester United Under-21s – and there was plenty to discuss after the match.
Black Cats boss Lee Johnson handed out seven senior debuts as he resisted the temptation to play the majority of his established players.
Left-back Denver Hume, who has just recovered from a hamstring injury, was the only 'qualifying' first-team player by the competition’s rules, meaning the Black Cats could face a £5,000 fine.
With an important league fixture to come at Gillingham on Saturday, the United match was moved against Sunderland’s will, yet several of the club’s youngsters took their opportunities to impress.
Goals from Tyrese Dyce and Stephen Wearne saw the team progress, as Dyce, Jacob Carney, Patrick Almond, Tom Scott, Ethan Kachosa, Cayden Kelly and Zac Johnson made their first-team debuts.
Here are some of the other moments you may have missed.
Sunderland’s high press
Despite the wholesale changes, Sunderland’s philosophy remained the same.
The Black Cats’ young side were encouraged to play out from the back and press from the front, and their tactics were rewarded.
The opening goal came as Sunderland stepped up the pitch as a team, centre-back Patrick Almond pressed United forward Joe Hugill and the striker conceded possession with a loose pass.
The ball went straight to Sunderland striker Will Harris, whose shot was subsequently saved by United keeper Dermot Lee before Dyce converted the rebound. It was an indication that the first-team philosophy is filtering down the age groups.
At the other end of the pitch it was a frustrating night for former Sunderland academy prospect Hugill, who squandered a few opportunities, including when he hit the post in the first half, and was replaced.
Former Sunderland defender Paul McShane, who joined United as a play-coach over the summer, played 90 minutes but didn’t have much time on the ball with Harris and Wearne leading the Black Cats’ attack.
Provoking goal celebrations
This may have had the makings of an under-23 fixture, yet both sets of players appeared keen to make a statement.
When United forward Zidane Iqbal curled home an excellent equaliser into the top corner, his strike earned a round of applause from the Sunderland fans.
But instead of recognising the admiration, Iqbal continued to celebrate by starting a strange dance right in front of the Black Cats supporters
When Sunderland retook the lead courtesy of Wearne’s header nine minutes later, Ellis Taylor was also quick to acknowledge the opposition fans.
After delivering the cross for his team-mate to convert, Taylor reacted with a big fist pump in the direction the small United contingent. There certainly wasn’t a lack of passion.
Several of Sunderland’s players have been away on international duty, including new signing Leon Dajaku who represented Germany’s under-20s side.
Dajaku came off the bench during a goalless draw with Poland and was an unused substitute in a 4-0 win over Romania on Monday.
The winger has since returned to Sunderland and was near the dugout supporting the team against United.
Since his arrival at the Stadium of Light, Dajaku has made three league appearances and scored in last month’s 5-0 win over Cheltenham.
It seems we are still yet to see the best of him.