New Look Sunderland Fail At First Attempt
Stadium of Light
17th Aug 2013: 3pm
Sunderland paid the price for not taking their chances as they went down 1-0 at home to Fulham in the opening game of the season.
The home side dominated for long periods of the game, but were unable to take what chances came their way with the biggest culprit being Jozy Altidore.
Paolo Di Canio started the game with Craig Gardner and David Vaughan both suspended, Steven Fletcher was still out of action with an ankle injury.
Five of the ten summer signings found their way into the starting line up as a new look Sunderland set about trying to get their first three points of the season, or that was the plan.
USA international Altidore did look like he was always going to be the most likely to score for the home side, he was a danger to Fulham as he lead Boateng a merry dance.
Cabral is also a confident looking player on the ball and he was certainly not afraid to pop in a shot from long range, he caught the keeper out on 25 minutes but his effort was just wide of the upright.
The early exchanges were going Sunderland's way and they tested the Fulham keeper Stekelenburg a few times with Giaccherini firing in a shot that he managed to hold and then he made a rather good fingertip save from an Ondrej Celustka volley.
But despite having the better of things, it was 0-0 at half time and people were beginning to wonder whether those missed chances would prove to be regrettable.
That question was soon answered in the second half when Fulham took the lead with their first chance of the second 45. Kasami simply got up higher than Valentin Roberge at the back post and he headed home Duff's corner to take the lead on 53 minutes.
Adam Johnson and Altidore continued to give the Fulham defence a headache as they looked for a way back into the game with the latter producing a turn on the edge of the box before firing wide of the mark. And then he missed a sitter from close range.
Stekelenburg ended up with an injured shoulder after a clash with Altidore and had to be replaced by Stockdale and in the closing stages the home side turned up the pressure, but that elusive goal would not come despite five minutes of added on time.
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