Kurzawa’s goal is crucial in Fulham’s win at Sunderland to set up Leeds’ FA Cup tie

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If Fulham end up winning the FA Cup this year, they will surely consider their fourth round fight to beat Sunderland to be pivotal.

Thanks to goals from Harry Wilson, Andreas Pereira and Layvin Kurzawa, Marco Silva’s side were successful at the second attempt and host Leeds in the fifth round, but the score did not do justice to the enthusiasm and vitality of their opponents in the Championship.

Although Sunderland missed out on some decent chances, Tony Mowbray can be extremely proud of his talented young team who, as the 50th anniversary of the club’s famous 1973 FA Cup win over Leeds approaches, created a night to remember at Wearside. .

Related: Sunderland v Fulham: FA Cup Fourth Round Replay – Live

Silva hadn’t exactly been enjoying the prospect of watching from the stands after incurring a one-game suspension on the touchline but, after just eight minutes, the smile on the Fulham manager’s face suggested it wasn’t a point. of view so bad after all.

Silva’s heavily rotated starting XI featured nine changes from the squad that started last Friday’s goalless draw at Chelsea, but Fulham enjoyed the best possible start as Wilson subdued an initially rowdy Wearside crowd by registering an early goal.

It all started when Sunderland failed to clear Kenny Tete’s cross and the ball eventually fell into the hands of Carlos Vinícius, who, with his back to goal, held magnificently before providing Wilson with a deft clearance.

The Welsh winger did justice to that delivery, using the outside of one boot to direct a finely calibrated shot just past Anthony Patterson’s grip and into the bottom corner.

Thereafter Fulham dominated possession for quite some time, their relative ease of control making it very easy to identify which team is eighth in the Premier League and which is currently ninth in the Championship.

Sunderland had scared Silva’s players in the original tie at Craven Cottage, but Tony Mowbray’s pride in that tie was tempered by the season-ending Achilles injury suffered by their top scorer Ross Stewart.

With his Leeds loan forward Joe Gelhardt’s cup tied, Mowbray lacked an orthodox center forward here but, as Fulham discovered, possessed an extremely gifted attacker in Manchester United loan winger Amad Diallo.

Although Diallo is not a natural number 9, his quick feet, quicker brain and sticky dribbling skills sporadically baffled Fulham and Marek Rodak did very well to stop a poisonous shot from the shoulder that dropped the 20-year-old Ivorian. Rodak seemed relieved when Abdoullah Ba was unable to make the most of the rebound.

Andreas Pereira scores Fulham's second goal against Sunderland

Andreas Pereira scores Fulham’s second goal against Sunderland. Photo: Scott Heppell/Reuters

Sunderland had finally begun to succeed in playing between Silva’s defensive lines and the decibel level of the Stadium of Light rose approvingly, however as half time approached even this underpowered Fulham XI possessed the enough intelligence to start applying a brake on Mowbray’s team, who are suddenly at an exhilaratingly high pace. .

It helped that Silva had the talented Tom Cairney in his midfield to guess many of Sunderland’s manoeuvres, but the visiting manager could have had Wilson grab at least one of the two chances he missed after his opening goal.

Perhaps the uncomfortably close scoreline played a role in Silva’s decision to introduce his key striker Aleksandar Mitrovic from the bench early in the second half when he and the equally influential Pereira replaced Vinícius and Luke Harris.

Undaunted, Sunderland enjoyed their best run of the night, playing very well, not to mention quick and incisive stuff, passing and movement. Daniel Neil kicked sideways and went wide after Diallo gave him a clever hint and Rodak was forced to chip in with another big save, this time from Patrick Roberts.

When Shane Duffy rescued Fulham by clearing Diallo’s line after Roberts had brought Cairney down, an equalizer seemed all but inevitable but, unfortunately for Mowbray, Mitrovic ensured that the next goal fell to Fulham.

After connecting with a splendid low pass from Cairney, Mitrovic saw a shot blocked by an advancing Patterson but quickly pounced on the loose ball, managing to retrieve it for Pereira to hit into the unprotected net.

Soon after, Mowbray dispatched 15-year-old Chris Rigg, who had a goal disallowed in the original equalizer but, rather than schoolboy heroics, Kurzawa volleyed Fulham’s third after Sunderland failed to clear Fulham’s corner. Pereira.

However, when Kurzawa’s subsequent stumble allowed Jewison Bennette to lift a 90th-minute shot into the top corner, an extremely tense four minutes of added time ensued.

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