Wednesday 22 August 2001, 8:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
Hayles 70'; Saha 85'
Sunderland
Sunderland
0
Fulham confirmed their Premiership credentials as goals from Barry Hayles and Louis Saha earned them a pulsating 2-0 victory over Sunderland at Craven Cottage.

70' Goal

Barry Hayles

85' Goal

Louis Saha

65' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jon Harley
Off:Rufus Brevett

24' Yellow Card

George McCartney Card was given for a foul

57' Yellow Card

Jody Craddock Card was given for a foul

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Niall Quinn
Off:Lilian Laslandes

76' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:David Bellion
Off:Stefan Schwarz

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Fulham confirmed their Premiership credentials as goals from Barry Hayles and Louis Saha earned them a pulsating 2-0 victory over Sunderland at Craven Cottage.

Hayles' strike came in the 70th minute after an error from Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, who gave the ball away on the left side of his area and Steed Malbranque teed up Hayles to thunder the ball home.

Saha clinched the points after 85 minutes when his 18-yard strike clipped Wearsiders defender George McCartney's heels and wrongfooted Sorensen, with the ball skidding inside the right-hand post.

The first hour of the contest was played at breakneck speed, with quick passing and swift tackling from both sides making the match a thoroughly entertaining spectacle.

Fulham appeared very confident in their first home Premiership outing, displaying willingness to attack at every opportunity - and delighting the majority of the 20,197 crowd.

Tigana's summer signings all enjoyed impressive home league debuts.

Malbranque - who has already become a firm fans' favourite - was a constant threat in the heart of the Cottagers' midfield, while goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was completely in control throughout.

Jon Harley appeared as a second-half substitute and appeared comfortable in his new surroundings after moving from Chelsea. Fulham's £3.3million new signing Sylvain Legwinski looked on from the stands.

The midfielder, who moved from Bordeaux earlier on Wednesday, watched the game after club officials were unable win international clearance in time for him to join the squad.

He joined the Londoners' ex-Sunderland midfielder Lee Clark, out with an Achilles injury, on the sidelines.

Fulham left-back Rufus Brevett, back in the side after serving a one-match ban in Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Manchester United, delivered a wonderful cross to create the first scoring opportunity of the match.

Hayles met the ball at pace but his header skidded harmlessly across the faceof goal from eight yards, when he really should have tested Sorensen.

The first of a host of Saha efforts arrived after 14 minutes when he turned the visiting defence inside-out on the edge of the penalty area and cracked a great shot a yard wide of goal.

Saha's influence on the game was growing by the minute, and at the half-way point in the first period, he combined beautifully with Hayles and fired in a powerful shot that deflected narrowly over the crossbar.

From the resulting corner, Saha headed Malbranque's flag kick a foot over thetop.

At the other end, Kevin Phillips sidefooted a Kevin Kilbane cross wide, beforeSaha brought a great save from Sorensen with another powerful strike.

It was the visitors who spurned the best chance so far. Kilbane raced clear on the left flank as the home defence hesitated, but he lost his cool and wastefully pulled his shot well wide.

The pace of the game showed no sign of relenting as Cottagers centre-back Alain Goma thumped a header from another Malbranque corner inches past the far post.

Sunderland forward Lilian Laslandes came within six inches of goal of the season on the stroke of half-time as he cracked a brilliant overhead kick narrowly wide from a pinpoint Bernt Haas cross.

Another Saha moment of magic brought the capacity crowd to its feet early inthe second period.

He teased the Sunderland defence and slotted a right-foot shot across goal,which Sorensen dived to save.

As the game finally slowed from its frantic pace, Malbranque began to dictate the game with his tireless workrate and intelligent link-up play with Saha and Hayles.

And the goal the home fans craved finally arrived after 72 minutes, following an error from Sorensen.

Standing on the left edge of his penalty area, the visiting keeper played a loose pass out, intercepted by the industrious Malbranque.

He played a clever double one-two with Hayles, who received the ball 12 yards from goal and thundered the ball past Sorensen, who had just reached his goalmouth after his poor pass.

Malbranque raced clear down the left wing late on and centred for Saha, who uncharacteristically completely missed the ball just 10 yards from goal.

Saha wrapped up the points in the 85th minute when his right-foot strike from the edge of the box deflected off George McCartney's heels and past the wrong footed Sorensen.

Sunderland sub David Bellion drew a great diving save from van der Sar in stoppage time.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Wednesday 22 August 2001
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 20,197

Referee: Barry Knight

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Goma, Melville, Brevett (Harley 65'); Malbranque, Davis, Collins, Goldbaek; Saha, Hayles

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Knight, Ouaddou, Boa Morte

Sunderland

Line-up: Sørensen; Haas, McCartney, Craddock, Gray, Kilbane; McCann, Schwarz (Bellion 76'), Oster; Kevin Phillips, Laslandes (Quinn 70')

Unused substitutes: Macho, Williams, Arca

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Bolton Wanderers 2 6
2 Leeds United 2 6
3 Manchester United 2 4
4 Everton 2 4
5 Arsenal 2 3
6 Fulham 2 3
7 Ipswich Town 2 3
8 Liverpool 1 3
9 Derby County 2 3
10 Sunderland 2 3
11 Tottenham Hotspur 2 2
12 Chelsea 1 1
13 Newcastle United 1 1
14 Aston Villa 1 1
15 Blackburn Rovers 2 1
16 Charlton Athletic 1 0
17 West Ham United 1 0
18 Southampton 1 0
19 Leicester City 1 0
20 Middlesbrough 2 0
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 10John Collins
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 20Louis Saha
  • 15Barry Hayles
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 7Jon Harley
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 25Abdeslam Ouaddou
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
Sunderland (5-3-2)
  • 29Thomas Sørensen
  • Bernt Haas
  • 3George McCartney
  • 6Jody Craddock
  • 33Michael Gray
  • 21Kevin Kilbane
  • Gavin McCann
  • Stefan Schwarz
  • 11John Oster
  • 9Kevin Phillips
  • Lilian Laslandes
Substitutes
  • Jürgen Macho
  • Darren Williams
  • 33Julio Arca
  • Niall Quinn
  • 12David Bellion