Forget About Kone: Opening Day SAFC Classics Featuring Liverpool & Arsenal

As Sunderland's opening-day clash against Manchester City draws closer, we take a look back at some classic Sunderland curtain-raisers.

by Michael_Peters Thursday, 11 August 2016 07:21 PM Comments
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As Sunderland's opening-day clash against Manchester City draws closer, we take a look back at some classic Sunderland curtain-raisers.

Liverpool 1-1 Sunderland (2011/12)
Steve Bruce's side put in a battling performance at Anfield. Luis Suarez smashed an early penalty over the bar before heading home after 12 minutes to put the Reds in front, but Sunderland regrouped after a timid first half. There was a moment of magic in store for the travelling Wearsiders as Sebastian Larsson scored a stunning volley on his Black Cats debut. Sunderland were the stronger team afterwards and had opportunities to win the game, but ultimately came away with a satisfactory point.

West Brom 2-2 Sunderland (2014/15)
A fiery tussle at the Hawthorns was marked by one particular stunning standout moment for those in red and white: a blistering Lee Cattermole effort from 25 yards out which left him just as surprised as the travelling fans. Saido Berahino scored twice, including a dodgy penalty, to put the hosts in front, but Sebastian Larsson was on hand to turn in a Patrick van Aanholt cross from close range in order to secure a point. In what was to become a defining feature of our season, we dominated, but failed to turn our constant pressure into three points.

Sunderland 1-0 Arsenal (2000/01)
Critics expected Sunderland to fall back after a superb 99/00 season. Peter Reid's side answered them in fine fashion with a dominant performance against Arsenal. Chris Makin and Michael Gray performed superbly in the centre throughout the game to keep Arsenal's notorious strike force, including Thierry Henry, at bay, and despite an injury to Thomas Sorensen, debutant keeper Jurgen Macho was not tested following his half-time introduction. A Niall Quinn header early in the second half was enough to secure the victory and put us on course for another formidable season.

Swindon Town 0-2 Sunderland (1989/90)
In front of just over 10,000 fans, Sunderland got their Second Division campaign off to a flying start with victory at the County Ground. Eric Gates, in his final season on Wearside, opened the scoring, and Warren Hawke doubled our advantage with his first goal for the club. The season would end with defeat to the same opposition in the playoff final, only for Swindon to be denied promotion owing to financial irregularities and Sunderland to be promoted in their place. We wouldn't win again on the opening day for nine seasons.

Sunderland 1-0 Tottenham (2007/08)
Newly promoted back to the Premier League, a home opener against what was then a very imposing Spurs team was on the cards. In truth, it was a very uneventful game, and the limited chances that were created fell to the home side, as Daryl Murphy and Dickson Etuhu both wasted decent opportunities when they should have scored. It looked like we were going to come away with a creditable point when Michael Chopra smacked a shot into the bottom corner in the last minute of added time.