Fulham 0-2 Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha on target in Palace win
Highlights and report as Jeffrey Schlupp also scores his first Palace goal
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 11/08/18 7:56pm
Wilfried Zaha opened his account for the new Premier League season as Crystal Palace beat Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
It was Jeffrey Schlupp who scored the opener in the 41st minute, hammering high into the net on a tight angle for his first Palace goal.
Zaha - who was the subject of transfer rumours during the summer - doubled the lead with 11 minutes to play after new Fulham goalkeeper Fabri came off his line, leaving the goal open for the forward to slot home.
It is already a marked improvement on Palace's start to last season, where they failed to score or win in their opening seven Premier League games, while Fulham looked bright in the first half but tired as the game went on.
Fulham: Fabri (5), Christie (7), Chambers (6), Le Marchand (6), Bryan (7), Cairney (7), McDonald (6), Seri (7), Schurrle (7), Mitrovic (7), Sessegnon (7).
Subs used: Kamara (4), Vietto (4), Johansen (4).
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (7), Wan Bissaka (8), Tomkins (6), Sakho (6), Van Aanholt (7), Townsend (7), Milivojevic (7), McArthur (6), Schlupp (6), Benteke (6), Zaha (7).
Subs used: Sorloth (4), Kouyate (n/a), Souare (n/a).
Man of the match: Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Fulham began well, and could have gone ahead inside 10 minutes. Ryan Sessegnon's ball across the face of goal was just missed by Andre Schurrle and the German was involved again not long afterwards, cutting the ball back for Aleksandar Mitrovic, but his effort went straight into the hands of Wayne Hennessey.
Crystal Palace could have broken the deadlock bang on the half-hour mark as Andros Townsend's cross from the right was met by the rising head of Christian Benteke, but he was denied by a fingertip save from Fabri, the £5m summer acquisition from Besiktas.
Fulham started seven new signings, including Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle, while Ryan Sessegnon and Tom Cairney were also in the XI. Crystal Palace did not start any of their new faces, but Vicente Guaita and Cheikh Kouayte were on the bench.
But Palace did get the opener 11 minutes later. After good play between Townsend and Patrick Van Aanholt, it was the latter who picked out Schlupp in the box. He got ahead of Calum Chambers before hammering the ball over the top of Fabri at the near post.
It could have been two just minutes later as Van Aanholt scored a very similar goal to the first after Zaha's lay-off - this time over on the right - but he was correctly flagged offside.
The second half was a much quieter affair, but there was a flurry of activity around the hour mark. Schurrle was denied a penalty after having his feet swept from beneath him by Mamadou Sakho, before the goalkeepers were called into action. After a knockdown from Benteke, Zaha saw his effort saved by Fabri before Hennessey again denied Mitrovic, this time from a header.
But Zaha put the result beyond doubt in the 79th minute. Aaron Wan-Bissaka made a driving run before threading the ball through for Zaha, who easily got in between the two central defenders. He then rounded the oncoming Fabri - who had come out to smother the ball - before slotting into an empty net to seal victory.
- This was only the third time in 10 Premier League campaigns that Crystal Palace have won their opening match, with all of those victories coming away from home (vs Everton in 1997/98 and Norwich in 2015/16).
- This was Fulham's first league defeat at Craven Cottage since October 2017 (0-2 vs Bristol City), ending a run of 15 without loss at home (W12 D3).
- Jeffrey Schlupp scored his first Premier League goal for Crystal Palace, and first in 1043 days in the competition since netting for Leicester against Norwich in October 2015.
- Patrick van Aanholt has had a hand in five goals in his last four Premier League games for Crystal Palace (3 goals, 2 assists).
Slavisa Jokanovic: "Really, I cannot criticise my players because they put everything into this moment that they can offer with some players only training for one day with the team. We must adapt ourselves and work towards our goals together and we trust that we can play better football than we did today."
Roy Hodgson: "We certainly have no reason to apologise for coming here today and winning because in the second half, we had quite a lot of control over the game and we created some good chances.
"Luckily, we scored a great goal which helps and another disallowed for offside, rightly so, but that is something that would have put our minds at rest a bit earlier but I thought in the second half, we played much better."
Phil Thompson: "Fulham didn't do badly. They were the better team in the first half, but Hennessey had an outstanding game - making crucial saves at crucial times.
"Palace are now settled under Hodgson, and he kept with the same side that we saw last season. Zaha could have done better, although he scored a good goal.
"They managed the game far better than Fulham, and were stronger in the second half. It's no disgrace for Fulham, but they do have to improve."
Man of the match - Aaron Wan-Bissaka
It was a solid performance from the 20-year-old, who has really proven himself since coming in to cover Crystal Palace's defensive crisis last season. He was tasked with keeping the talented Ryan Sessegnon quiet and, for the most part, did his job effectively.
He was in the right place at the right time on several occasions at the back, clearing balls away, and also contributed in attack with his driving run to set up Zaha's goal. He will surely be difficult to oust from the Crystal Palace XI now.
Would VAR have made a difference?
Perhaps - Fulham could have been awarded a penalty in the 61st minute after Sakho appeared to swipe the feet out from under Schurrle, with the crowd calling for the spot-kick. Replays show that he did not get the ball but there are questions over how much contact there actually was. Had it been given - and scored - it would have levelled proceedings.
Fulham are in action next Saturday as they take on Tottenham at Wembley, although Crystal Palace have a slightly longer break, not playing until Monday Night Football when they host Liverpool at Selhurst Park.