Sunderland 2-3 Fulham: Marco Silva’s side survive fear to keep FA Cup dream alive
Ulham can dream of an FA Cup run this season after an eventful 3-2 win at Sunderland saw them through to the FA Cup fifth round where they face Leeds United without a coach.
Sunderland’s sixth-minute goal helped them earn a replay when these sides met at Craven Cottage 11 days ago. This time it was Fulham’s turn to score early, and on this occasion they managed to get the job done against Tony Mowbray’s ambitious Black Cats.
Poor defensive header from Patrick Roberts allowed Carlos Vinícius to control in the box and play against Harry Wilson, who slipped into the corner of the net with the outside of his boot. Eight minutes later Fulham were leading.
The Cottagers were unable to rely on instructions from their manager, with Marco Silva serving a sideline ban after receiving his fourth yellow card of the season in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea.
Fulham, for a while, looked like they could add to their lead. Goalscorer Wilson nicked the ball from Roberts but his tame effort was saved. Shortly after, he was wise to Dan Neil’s pass, intercepting and galloping forward but crushing wide.
As the half progressed, Sunderland rallied. Amad Diallo, the 20-year-old wide player on loan from Manchester United, started playing with the visiting defense and his swinging shot dipped on its way to goalkeeper Marek Rodak, who could only parry. The local threat only grew and by the end of the half the Black Cats were on a roll.
After the interval, Neil curled wide wide before Sunderland left winger Jack Clarke passed to Roberts who tested Rodak via a deflection.
Undoubtedly, the Championship side felt their chance to equalise. Diallo twisted defenders this way and that and a shot was heading in, but Republic of Ireland international Shane Duffy took advantage of a rare start and instinctively cleared the line.
Silva, from the stands, and his first-team coach Luis Boa Morte turned to their experienced heads from the bench. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andreas Pereira arrived and in an instant the former was in place for the latter to tap home the latter.
Sunderland never left, never hid, and they were back at 2-1 when Aji Alese picked out Clarke who used Duffy’s body as a guide and then folded a magnificent finish into the top corner.
The final moments of the game turned frantic and Fulham managed to regain their two-goal cushion when Cairney and then Duffy both headed for Layvin Kurzawa to drive home with interest.
Kurzawa, however, put unnecessary added-time pressure on his side when his poor touch and slip allowed 18-year-old Sunderland substitute Jewison Bennette to convert for 3-2, but Costa’s goal Rica couldn’t inspire Sunderland to snatch their leveler.
Instead, Fulham held their ground and they next face Leeds. Sunderland’s fiery journey is coming to an end but they have certainly had Premier League opposition worried in both games. In the end, that wasn’t enough.