Cottagers centre-half Brede Hangeland was given his marching orders by referee Lee Probert just after the half-hour mark in what could be described as a questionable decision with the Norwegian winning the ball in a strong challenge on Lee Cattermole in the middle of the pitch.
Nevertheless, the decision stood and Fulham were to play the final hour of the match with ten men which proved too much for Martin Jol's men who conceded three times in the second half.
The goal stood but it wasn't long before Sunderland roared back into the lead thanks to Carlos Cuellar's header from a Seb Larsson corner three minutes later before Stephane Sessegnon added a third for the visitors with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The Benin international returned to scoring form with a stellar effort from 25 yards which Mark Schwarzer struggled to keep out.
Jol would be disappointed with the result of his Fulham team, who usually get the job done at home, whilst Martin O'Neill's men gave the Wearside fans the tonic they required with just their second victory of the campaign.
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