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Fulham 1-3 Sunderland 04 rply fac 1415 Daily Mail

last updated Wednesday 04th February 2015, 6:43 PM
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Sam Cunningham at Daily Mail

Fulham (1) 1-3 (0) Sunderland

The harsh cruelty of the FA Cup befell Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli as his mistake proved crucial in their fourth-round replay defeat by Sunderland.

He had been immense for an hour, pulling off save after save as the home side took the lead against the run of play through Hugo Rodallega.

But on 61 minutes, Sunderland full back Patrick van Aanholt swung in a cross from the left that took a huge deflection, and though Bettinelli caught the ball under his crossbar he proceeded to drop it over the line.

To compound his misery, Ricardo Alvarez then smashed home with 15 minutes remaining and the game was over when Jordi Gomez scored a stoppage-time penalty to set Sunderland up with a fifth-round tie against Bradford City.

'It was the turning point of the game,' Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said of Bettinelli's error. 'I was thinking how unfair football is. We were the better team.'

Bradford, hosting the game at their Valley Parade ground, may consider Sunderland small fry after dumping Chelsea out of the last round. But they should be worried if they saw Sunderland's onslaught at Craven Cottage.

Before Rodallega smashed in Ross McCormack's low corner from the left on 28 minutes it was all Sunderland. On 14 minutes Gomez hit a rasping drive from the left-hand side but Bettinelli was equal to it and saved with an outstretched arm.

A minute later, Emanuele Giaccherini played Steven Fletcher in and he took a touch before shooting, but Bettinelli managed to divert the ball inches wide of the right post.

The Sunderland pair almost combined again in the 23rd minute when Giaccherini played a pass into Fletcher's path, but Bettinelli sped from his line and narrowly made it to the ball first.

But then Fulham hit them on the break and it seemed to lift the inferiority complex they had been displaying.

Five minutes after they went ahead McCormack had a strong case for a penalty when he devilishly dribbled into the box and was tripped. Referee Paul Tierney shook his head and McCormack beat the ground in disbelief

'Goals are generally defining moments in games,' Fulham boss Kit Symons said.

'It was a mistake but he's been excellent for us so I'm not going to point any blame.

'He'll be all right, he's a strong character. One mistake like that won't affect him too badly. He was a bit upset but he'll dust himself down and get on with it.'

The game was firmly in Sunderland's favour when Alvarez ran with the ball at pace towards goal, turned inside two players and belted it in.

Then in stoppage time Shaun Hutchinson brought down Danny Graham and Gomez converted from the spot.

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