Steve Bruce's side remain in bottom-half of the table after dominant defeat to the west London side and with no strikers fit, look destined to stay there
Sunderland's hopes of a top-10 finish were diminished after a solid 3-0 victory for Fulham at the Stadium of Light, with Simon Davies getting two for the visitors and Gael Kakuta scoring his first senior goal.
A heated opening 25-minutes saw neither side take any real control in the game. However, the first-half calmed down enough to offer the first goal, with Gael Kakuta putting Fulham ahead with his first senior goal. Sunderland were by no means playing poorly and had their own chances, with Sulley Muntari going the closest of his team-mates after his effort just cleared the Fulham bar.
However, the second-half saw Sunderland resigned to defeat after Simon Davies picked up two more goals for Fulham, leaving the west London side able to coast to the final whistle. Steve Bruce’s side struggled throughout to gain any real possession and allowed the visitors to control the game.
With a striker injury crisis on Wearside, the Black Cats were forced to place attacking midfielder Stephene Sessegnon up front alone. Meanwhile, Anton Ferdinand and John Mensah were not fit enough to begin the game and started on the bench. Philippe Senderos on the other hand had recovered from his Achilles injury and made his Fulham debut, but Damian Duff missed out thanks to his own ankle problem.
The game certainly started like a relegation battle with both teams beginning the game in a heated manner. This attitude towards the game shone through as the players fought it out in the middle of the park to get a hold on possession, with Sunderland getting the early success and making the most of it with a flurry of corners in the first 20 minutes.
However, chances were far from abundant and dogged defending from both outfits prevailed over the attacking nature of the teams.
Steed Malbranque did go the closest in the first 30 minutes after Swiss defender Senderos gave it away to the former Fulham man in his own half and the midfielder used his momentum to outpace the defender and get a shot off just inside the area, but it went just wide of the goal.
However, it was Fulham who made the most of their best chance. A long ball deep into the Sunderland half found Bobby Zamora, who managed to bring the ball down in superb fashion for Eidur Gudjohnsen, enabling the Icelandic attacker to play a one-two for Zamora to play a low ball across goal for Kakuta to toe-poke the ball past Simon Mignolet.
Just minutes later, Sunderland may well have equalised through Muntari, but the loanee from Inter Milan just couldn’t keep his effort down from the edge of the area, much to the relief of Mark Schwarzer who looked beaten and Fulham ended the half still in the lead.
Travel sick | Fulham grab only their second away win of the season at SunderlandSessegnon grabbed the first chance after the restart after an untouched goal-kick from Mignolet found the makeshift striker on the edge of the Fulham area and in space, leaving him with all the encouragement to shoot. However, a lack of power on the effort made for a comfortable diving save for Schwazer.
Fulham could very well have doubled their lead through Zamora on 54 minutes. Gudjohnson gracefully took down a cross from Davies and from the angle on the right sent a pile-driver of a shot towards the far corner and a sliding Zamora came within inches of putting the ball into the back of the net.
It wasn’t too long after however, that the Fulham support had to wait for what was an inevitable second goal. A fluid phase of football from the London side saw Steve Sidwell burst down the left-side of the Sunderland box and cut the ball back towards the penalty spot for Davies to place his right-foot through the ball to send it smashing against the corner of the net.
Just 10 minutes later it was three to Fulham, thanks to Davies’ second of the day. A charging run down the right from Zamora enabled the striker to look up and feed his midfield team-mate a low ball across goal. After Mignolet and Michael Turner collided, Davies, with pressure from Ahmed Elmohamady, was able to get the slightest of touches to put the result beyond doubt.
Resigned to defeat after the second goal, Sunderland finished the game weakly as they allowed Fulham to canter to victory and into ninth place in the table.
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