Sunderland dominated but suffered defeat in a game of surprisingly few chances considering the amount of quality attacking on the pitch at the Stadium of Light.
Cabral had an eventful game, and at least could not be accused of going missing, being involved in conceding several free-kicks as well as having a few missed opportunities. His closest being in the opening minutes as he blazed wide from the lively Emmanuele Giaccherini's cross after the former Juventus man jinked his way down the wing.
Sunderland was dominating possession and showing plenty of endeavor with its attacking band of Giaccherini, Adam Johnson and Stephane Sessegnon, but the Fulham defense, bolstered by a tough midfield lineup, held out firm and was not about to give away any clear opportunities. Giaccherini was the most productive of the three, and almost had an assist when he cut a ball across the area for Jozy Altidore, but the American couldn't make a connection to divert it goalwards.
The hosts found themselves restricted to long-range opportunities, but after Giaccherini warmed Maarten Stekelenburg's palms with one effort, Ondrej Celustka pulled out a far more impressive effort, connecting with a ferocious volley from 30 yards which the Dutchman had to be alert to tip away.
Sunderland continued to dominate as soon as the second half began, pressing high up the pitch as Paolo Di Canio's new philosophy made its mark, but found themselves behind after a few minutes, Pajtim Kasami getting on the end of Damien Duff's corner to head into the net and give the Cottagers the lead against the run of play.
The rest of the half was frustrating for the hosts as Sunderland struggled to create any more clear chances despite showing plenty of attacking intent on the ball. Altidore had the best chance after he evaded several challenges in the Fulham area, but his finish couldn't live up to his strong play, and Stekelenburg made the save easily.
Di Canio's last substitution, withdrawing Celustka for Connor Wickham, showed how desperate the Black Cats were to find an opening, but simply couldn't force a way through a solid Fulham defense. A touch of fortune for the Cottagers, but both sides will have both negatives and positives to take from their opening game.