Fulham 1-1 Norwich: Nelson Oliveira scores late equaliser for Canaries
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 05/08/17 7:08pm
Substitute Nelson Oliveira equalised two minutes from time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Norwich at Fulham in their Sky Bet Championship opener at Craven Cottage.
Russell Martin's own goal had put the hosts ahead on 25 minutes, and the cruel deflection from Floyd Ayite's cross looked set to secure victory for last season's beaten play-off semi-finalists. But Oliveira beat the offside trap to earn the Canaries a point in new manager Daniel Farke's first game in charge.
Farke named seven debutants in his starting XI while Fulham kept largely the same side that featured during their promising 2016-17 campaign, only Oliver Norwood making his first start.
Neeskens Kebano poked wide early on following a fast-tempo start to the game but the visitors went on to have the better of the chances, with Yanic Wildschut getting the better of Fulham's left-back Ryan Sessegnon.
New signing Marley Watkins was twice denied by David Button from Watkins crosses, while Mario Vrancic also shot over from a delivery by the former Wigan winger.
But it was Fulham who were first to open their account for the new campaign, Ayite's cross hitting the unfortunate Martin and deflecting into the net.
Buoyed by the goal, the hosts went close to another within seconds as Ryan Fredericks' effort was saved by Norwich keeper Angus Gunn, son of Canaries great Bryan. Tom Cairney then shot straight at the keeper while Sone Aluko headed wide after Tomas Kalas had flicked on Kebano's corner.
Aluko then twice went close to increasing the lead before the break while Kebano was unlucky to see a shot from the edge of the area come back off the post. But Norwich were still in the contest with Watkins, a summer signing from Barnsley, firing straight at Button from an excellent position when unmarked.
The home team sent on new signings Ibrahima Cisse and Aboubakar Kamara and the latter missed a good chance for number two when he drove into the side-netting after his trickery had set up a shooting chance.
James Husband then had to clear off the line to deny Kamara as the Frenchman's pace caused problems for a tiring visiting defence. The Canaries were angry not to be awarded a penalty, though, when Denis Odoi appeared to handle in the area from Martin's shot.
Odoi nearly scored at the other end with a long-range effort just clearing the bar, but Norwich continued to press with Aluko nearly heading into his own net from a Wildschut free-kick.
And the equaliser arrived in the nick of time when two substitutes - Wes Hoolahan and Oliveira - combined, with the latter slotting home from the former's through-ball to rescue a point for Norwich.
Slavisa Jokanovic: "I am frustrated as I could not complain about offside. I'm not sure if it was legal or illegal, simply we have dropped two points. But I see no point in complaining - it's about looking forward, not about the past.
"It's always disappointing to concede at that late point in the game. We are in a similar situation to last season when we were creating chances but not scoring enough. Today we weren't clinical enough at the crucial moment. We didn't kill the game.
Daniel Farke: "Nelson is from Portugal and very emotional. It was really kind of him to show me the shirt. Hopefully that was not a sign for me because I can't do without him. He's a really good guy and has a good character but sometimes emotions burn a little bit in him. But there are no problems. I'm really content with the guy today and really happy with his movement.
"What he did was quite normal because all the players should want to play for 90 minutes in nearly 60 games this season. That's not possible as one of our greatest strengths is to have two of the best strikers in the whole league. We have to recognise the record of Cameron Jerome and his quality."