The points were then sealed late on as substitute Stuart O'Keefe fired in a spectacular drive from the edge of the box.
Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the action between the teams.
On target 6
On target 2
Was the result fair?
It certainly was. While there was little quality from either side during the 90 minutes, Palace looked the more organised and simply wanted it more. Everyone pulled their weight for the hosts, while plenty of the Sunderland players went missing for large chunks of the match.
Crystal Palace's performance
Ian Holloway will be pleased with the spirit that his side displayed during the contest as they defended well in numbers and attacked with pace. There was plenty there to indicate that they will probably be battling away at the bottom of the table for the majority of the season, but this result is sure to give them a tonne of confidence for the campaign ahead.
Paolo Di Canio is likely to be distraught with his players for the abject display that they put in at Selhurst Park. The Black Cats have summer signings coming out of their ears, but not one of them look like they are getting used to the Premier League. There was a complete lack of ideas from the away side, and a few more performances like that could signal another season fighting relegation.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Jason Puncheon: The loan signing from Southampton was Palace's most dangerous player going forward, bursting past opposition defenders and showing no fear in going for goal.
John O'Shea is an experienced defender, but allowing Dwight Gayle in on goal before fouling the youngster to give away a penalty and get sent off was emblematic of Sunderland's bad day at the office.
The match was a surprisingly feisty affair as both sides battled hard in midfield to gain possession, yet Lee Probert did well to allow the contest to become an end-to-end spectacle for much of the evening.
Crystal Palace: Things don't get easier for the Eagles as they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the Premier League next.
Sunderland: The Black Cats continue their league campaign when they welcome Arsenal to the Stadium of Light.