London - Crystal Palace recorded a positive 2-0 win over an
impressive Fulham in their opening game of the new Premier League season at
Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Jeffery Schlupp opened the scoring in the first half of his
100 league start before Wilfred Zaha secured all three points with his late
Fulham made a confident start, with Wayne Hennessey forced
into a strong low save from Cyrus Christie's 25 yard effort.
Zaha was then close to connecting to an inviting ball into
the area from Patrick Van Aanholt.
Fulham may well have scored on 10 minutes but Andre Schurrle
was just unable to connect to a Ryan Sessegnon pass after the hosts had sliced
the Palace defence open.
And after a pass by Christian Benteke to Zaha was superbly
cut out by Christie, Hennessey made a super stop to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic
from just inside the area.
Sessegnon had a good low cross from the left blocked ahead
of a super spell of one touch passes as Fulham enjoyed possession of the ball.
Fabri was finally called into action with a brilliant save
to deny Benteke with a fingertip save after the Belgian had risen well to
connect to an Andros Townsend cross from the right flank.
With normal service resumed, Hennessey made another good
save, from Mitrovic on the turn, but astonishingly it was Palace to break the
Van Aanholt played in a neat ball to Schlupp who rolled
Calum Chambers before smashing in at the near post on the left-hand side.
Van Aanholt then fired in from the opposite flank after some
slick passes, but the assistant referee's flag was correctly up for offsides
for the last real chance of the first half.
The second period started with a succession of Palace
corners that were ultimately cleared by the hosts while Benteke was unable to
connect to a Townsend cross with the goal at his mercy.
Palace were looking more confident and were trying to add to
their lead while referee Mike Dean waved away appeals for a penalty as Schurrle
went down in the area after a swipe of the legs from Mamadou Sakho.
Fabri did well to keep out a shot from Zaha after a knock
down from Benteke before Hennessey stopped a Mitrovic header from sneaking in
at the other end.
Having finally succumbed to an early knock, and after
another heavy challenge, Bryan had to be replaced, with Luciano Vietto coming
With play resumed, Benteke smashed a half volley into the
arms of Fabri before another decent strike, low down to force a good stop from
the Fulham stopper.
Aboubakar Kamara, on for Schurrle, saw his dipping effort
fly past Hennessey before the keeper had to get down low to keep out a cross
from the right from Christie.
Palace though sealed their victory when Zaha picked up a
pass from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who did well to brush off a tackle and feed his
team-mate, who took one touch and slotted the ball under Fabri, after he had
needlessly come off his line to close down the striker - with defenders close
Fabri made a solid stop to deny Townsend, ahead of a late
debut from Cheikhou Kouyate, who replaced Townsend for the final few minutes,
while the clash ended with Hennessey making another fie save, with a fingertip
stop to keep out Sessegnon and Fabri palming a Kouyate shot wide.