Sunderland 0-0 Hull City - Hull City win 5-4 on penalties
Sunderland's return to competitive football on Wearside after a six-month absence ended in a penalty shoot-out defeat.
Despite creating numerous chances during the 90 minutes, the Black Cats ended up losing 5-4 on penalties to Hull City.
Hull made Sunderland pay by scoring all of their spot-kicks after Will Grigg opened the shoot-out by hitting the legs of goalkeeper Matt Ingram.
After Grigg’s miss Malik Wilks, Richie Smallwood, Martin Samuelsen, George Honeyman and Kean Lewis-Potter all scored for the Tigers.
And Max Power, Luke O’Nien, Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke’s successful penalties were not enough as Sunderland bowed out in the first round.
Phil Parkinson’s side should have taken the lead in the tie far earlier, particularly in the first half, but Hull grew stronger in the second half and the score remained goalless at the empty Stadium of Light.
It wasn’t the first game Sunderland have had without supporters this summer, but it was strange for the season opener to be played in such circumstances.
The behind-closed-doors feel because of the coronavirus pandemic meant Aiden O’Brien’s full competitive debut had to be performed in front of the empty seats, with the 26-year-old asked to start alongside Grigg in attack.
That was because Parkinson changed approach by naming two strikers, while Bailey Wright was back in defence following his return after last season’s loan from Bristol City.
It was a bit of tinkering that sparked a bright start. Grigg, making his first start since December, was immediately involved when his run in to the area ended with a flick from Max Power being cleared off the line by Hull’s Josh Emmanuel.
That arrived with just 15 seconds on the clock and soon after Grigg had the ball in the net only for the referee Thomas Bramall to pull play back for a foul.
The signs were encouraging and when Denver Hume’s excellent cross from the left caused problems, Chris Maguire ended up firing wide when the ball dropped to his feet.
Hume pushed on whenever he could and from another of his early crosses O’Brien, signed after nine years with Millwall, flicked a decent header into the arms of goalkeeper Ingram at his near post.
While Hull pushed on occasionally in the first half, Sunderland created the best chances in those early exchanges and anything that did arrive Lee Burge’s way he held between the posts.
O’Nien, who had coasted in at the back post, had a downward header saved by Ingram’s legs on the line from Maguire’s deeply taken free-kick.
And when Grigg did well to get to the line in the area, his lowly struck ball across the six yard box was just inches away from being turned in by the outstretched boot of O’Brien with 14 minutes left of the half.
Moments after O’Brien’s bit of magic in his own half when he beat a few players, the Irishman was played in behind the defence by Maguire’s quick-thinking but the finish was pulled wide.
Without a breakthrough before half-time, the question was whether someone could come up with some magic after the restart.
Within five minutes Hume headed over an O’Nien delivery after some neat link play with O’Brien down the right.
Hull looked more threatening in the final third after that, but it was Sunderland who had the ball in the net again only for it to be ruled out for a second time.
Grigg was on hand in the six-yard box to turn in O’Nien’s low delivery but he was deemed offside even though it was very tight and could have been level.
That arrived with 21 minutes remaining and in an attempt to get Sunderland over the line Parkinson brought on Gooch and Wyke for the final quarter of an hour. O’Brien and Maguire made way.
Former Sunderland captain Honeyman fired an effort over the bar from 22 yards for Hull, after Power was unable to clear properly on the edge of the box.
Wyke was played in by Tom Flanagan soon after at the other end, where the striker curled low and the effort was comfortably gathered by Ingram as the threat of penalties increased.
Hull looked the most dangerous in the dying seconds but neither side could find that elusive winner so the shoot-out arrived.
Sunderland AFC: Burge; Willis, Wright, Flanagan; O’Nien, Dobson, Power, Maguire (Gooch 76), Hume; O’Brien (Wyke 76), Grigg.
Subs (not used): Scowen, Feeney, Matthews (gk), Leadbitter, Neil.
Hull City: Ingram; Emmanuel, de Wijs, Burke, Fleming; Honeyman, Smallwood, Docherty; Samuelsen, Wilks; Eaves (Lewis-Potter 31).
Subs (not used): Cartwright, Batty, Jones, McLoughlin, Sheaf, Berry.
Referee: Thomas Bramall