Alistair Magowan at BBCSport
Fulham 1 - 0 Sunderland
An impressive Bobby Zamora scored his sixth goal of the season to lift Fulham to eighth spot in the Premier League after they beat Sunderland.
Zamora also hit the bar before half-time and Erik Nevland should have scored too but he shot straight at Marton Fulop from a Zamora lay-off.
Mark Schwarzer saved Kenwyne Jones's shot when he intercepted a back pass and Darren Bent volleyed wide.
Fulham faded after the break, but held off a spirited Sunderland effort.
The result means Sunderland's woes away from home continue as they now have just one win from their last 18 league trips. Meanwhile, Fulham boss Roy Hodgson will be content his team held firm after their European exertions on Thursday.
On this display, Hodgson looks to be taking domestic issues more seriously than the Europa League with Clint Dempsey, Aaron Hughes and Damien Duff among those returning to the team after being rested for the midweek victory against CSKA Sofia.
It certainly added more impetus to the team's play and for long periods of the first half Fulham were the superior team.
But Sunderland, who have only picked up four points away all season, made more of the contest in the second period and had several good chances to equalise.
They certainly began with purpose when Black Cats captain Lorik Cana regained possession deep in the Fulham half to set up Steed Malbranque, but his shot was straight at Schwarzer.
Following that, though, they were given little chance to get into their stride as Fulham took the lead after seven minutes from a seemingly innocuous position.
Duff laid the ball back to John Pantsil on the right flank and his deep cross was nodded home by Zamora with the Black Cats defence caught napping.
Duff was deployed on the right of midfield with Hodgson perhaps looking to exploit Kieran Richardson who was filling in at left-back after George McCartney injured his hamstring in training on Friday.
That meant Dempsey started on the left but the American was eager to roam into the centre and twice found room to shoot from long range.
The visitors seemed happy to play themselves into the game with a spell of possession but their attacks lacked any real zeal. Conversely, every time Fulham broke they had more threat and they were keen to probe Richardson's flank, leading him to give the ball away one time too many.
Cutting in from the right, Duff lifted a chance high and wide but soon after Zamora came close to doubling his tally when again he threatened in the air, nodding Paul Konchesky's centre onto the crossbar.
The former West Ham striker had already impressed with some tasty skills before that chance and further proved he is adept on the deck when, after a free-kick, his lay-off for Nevland should have given Fulham a 2-0 lead at half-time.
The Norwegian, however, shot straight at Fulop from inside the penalty area and made things worse by putting the parry over the bar.
Perhaps having had a quiet word with his men at half-time, Steve Bruce saw his side energised after the break and the Fulham defence had to be alert when Bent's pull back looked dangerous.
The hosts continued to threaten but Konchesky almost gifted Sunderland an equaliser when his back pass was intercepted by Jones, who was back in the team after a three-match ban. Maybe lacking match sharpness, the Trinidadian's shot was smothered by Schwarzer.
Quiet up to the hour mark, Bent then began to give the Sunderland fans voice when his stinging volley was just off target from Richardson's cross. The Black Cats leading scorer then had another opportunity but he leant back while shooting to blast over.
Whereas the Sunderland left side was a weakness in the first half, Andy Reid and Richardson began to link up well in the second, Reid perhaps buoyed by the watching Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.
The Italian would have noted that while the game was busier now it was also becoming increasingly scrappy.
Zoltan Gera, the scorer against CSKA Sofia in midweek, headed a chance wide from a left-wing cross.
At the other end, Sunderland substitute Bolo Zenden had a crisp shot that Schwarzer did well to get down and stop, but for all the visitors' efforts they failed to create many clear-cut chances they will live to rue.
Credit for that must go to the resolute Fulham defence who will be happy to finish a busy week on a high note.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson on Bobby Zamora:
"In the first half he was magnificent, in the second half he didn't get the service but he was a constant thorn in Sunderland's side.
"We didn't get the ball up to him in the second half but I thought his performance was good throughout and he was a major factor in the victory.
"They've got some dangerous front players, but I'm happy to say we got away with it and it gives us some solid foundations going into the Christmas period. I thought the back four was superb and Chris Baird did well in front of them."
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce:
"Our away form could ruin our season. I've got to do something different because away from home we are too easy to play against. By that I mean changing personnel.
"If we had started the first half like we did the second we would have got something out of the game."