Sunderland’s Ondrej rues dream that got away

Dated: 17/08/2013'Sunderland's Ondrej Celustka fires a shot on goal during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Fulham at the Stadium of Light'''' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
Dated: 17/08/2013'Sunderland's Ondrej Celustka fires a shot on goal during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Fulham at the Stadium of Light'''' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

ONDREJ Celustka admits it would have been a “dream” to mark his Premier League debut with a goal.

New signing Celustka came closest to netting Sunderland’s first of the season in Saturday’s opening day defeat to Fulham, after the on-loan Trabzonspor right-back’s scorching angled drive towards the top corner was brilliantly parried by debutant Cottagers stopper Maarten Stekelenburg.

The 24-year-old has netted just seven career goals at club level, yet insists they included efforts from long-range during his time in his homeland at Slavia Prague.

And the Czech defender concedes he thought he had scored another spectacular strike after unleashing a thumping effort during a dominant first half from Paolo Di Canio’s side.

Celustka told the Echo: “Yes, I thought I had scored. It was a good shot, but unfortunately it wasn’t a goal.

“It’s a shame, but that’s football. Sometimes they go in for you, and sometimes they don’t.

“I haven’t scored so many goals, because I’m not a forward!

“But sometimes I have scored like that from long distance.

“I remember some in the Czech Republic that I scored like that.

“It would have been a dream for me on Saturday to score in my first match in the Premier League.”

Celustka believes that if his strike had nestled in the top corner, then Sunderland would have gone on to win their Premier League curtain-raiser against the defensive-minded Cottagers.

But despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Sunderland paid the price for slack set-piece marking early in the second half when Pajtim Kasami got above debutant Valentin Roberge to head home the only goal of the game.

That was Fulham’s sole effort on target, yet Sunderland drew a blank as they chased an equaliser.

“I think if I had scored, it would have made a big difference,” added Celustka.

“If we had scored in the first half, I think the result would have been a total opposite. I think we would have won the game.

“But then we conceded an unnecessary goal from a set-piece.

“It’s disappointing that Fulham scored with only one chance.

“But that was enough for them to win, which is what mattered.

“It’s difficult to take, but we have to make sure we go again next week.”

This Saturday, Sunderland are away to Southampton, who opened their campaign with an impressive 1-0 victory at West Brom, courtesy of a last-minute penalty from Rickie Lambert.