Pajtim Kasami scored the only goal of the game as Paolo Di Canio's first full season in charge of Sunderland began with a 1-0 home defeat to Fulham.
The Swiss midfielder rose highest from a corner to head home from six-yards out at the back post on 52 minutes.
It was a smash-and-grab effort from the west London visitors in a game largely dominated by the hosts, although Sunderland were visibly lacking in cutting edge.
Sporting an unfamiliar look following a raft of signings from Di Canio in the close season, Sunderland did not lack for endeavour, although the same could not be said of their quality.
One of Di Canio's signings, American Jozy Altidore, proved a nuisance up front for the Fulham defence and had the majority of the home side's best moments.
However, it was another new signing, Czech full-back Ondrej Celustka who produced the only real moment of quality in the first half, only for Fulham's own debutant goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to save his 25-yard shot in brilliant fashion.
Stekelenburg would not make it to the end of his debut, though, as he was taken off midway through the second half after a challenge from Altidore left him clutching his shoulder, to be replaced by David Stockdale.
And the substitute goalkeeper was called on to save from the ever-lively Altidore late on to ensure the three points went to the Londoners.