MX23RW : Tuesday, June 22 12:19:07| >> :120:14817:14817:
Aug 11, 2018 at 3pm UK at Craven Cottage
Attendance: 24,821
Fulham
0-2
Crystal Palace
FT(HT: 0-1)
Schlupp (41'), Zaha (80')

Live Commentary: Fulham 0-2 Crystal Palace - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's coverage of the opening weekend of the new Premier League season as Fulham lose 2-0 to visitors Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage.
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Fulham took on Crystal Palace on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season aiming to get off to a positive start after a busy summer of spending at Craven Cottage.

Fulham looked comfortable in possession for much of the encounter, but found themselves behind at the break thanks to Jeffrey Schlupp's first-half strike.

Roy Hodgson's Palace then produced the perfect counter-attacking display in the second period to seal a 2-0 victory, as Wilfried Zaha broke away to clinch three points with an adroit finish on the break.

Relive all of the action with our minute-by-minute updates below.


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Good afternoon all and thanks for joining us as the new Premier League season rolls into town. Here we'll be providing live coverage of newly-promoted Fulham's clash with fellow Londoners Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage.

FULHAM STARTING XI: Fabri; Christie, Chambers, Le Marchand, Bryan; McDonald, Seri, Cairney; Schurrle, Mitrovic, Sessegnon

FULHAM SUBSTITUTES: Rico, Fosu-Mensah, Johansen, Cisse, Kebano, Vietto, Kamara

CRYSTAL PALACE STARTING XI: Hennessey; Wan Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp; Benteke, Zaha

CRYSTAL PALACE SUBSTITUTES: Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Sorloth, Souare, Kelly, Riedewald

So Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has opted for an attacking and progressive starting XI upon the Cottagers' return to top-flight football. It appears as though the hosts will operate with three men in attack in the shape of Andre Schurrle, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ryan Sessegnon. Further deeper in midfield a combination of Tom Cairney, Jean Michael Seri and Kevin McDonald have been tasked with holding the centre of the pitch.

In goal, Fabri has held of competition from new loan signing Sergio Rico, leaving the stopper to marshal a defence that is made up from Cyrus Christie, Calum Chambers, Maxime Le Marchand and Joe Bryan.

As for the visitors, Hodgson leads with both Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha in the forward positions, while further support is to come from a four-man midfield made up from Andros Townsend, Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur and Jeffrey Schlupp.

At the back, the Eagles have Aaron Wan-Bassaka on the right and Patrick van Aanholt on the left channel, leaving James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho in the heart of defence. Wayne Hennessey starts between the sticks.

Looking ahead to the new season, Fulham finally make a return to the Premier League after ousting Steve Bruce's Aston Villa in the Championship playoff final earlier in the spring.

The club are back in the top flight having produced what was arguably one of the most exciting displays in the second half of the Championship campaign last term. Fulham were nowhere to be seen heading into Christmas, before putting together a 23-game unbeaten run to leave them in a commanding position close to the automatic spots.

Unfortunately, Jokanovic's men lost to Middlesbrough at the crucial moment and had to settle for a battle through the playoffs. The Cottagers held their nerve, though, to secure progress past Derby County before comfortably negotiating passage into the Premier League at the expense of the Villains at Wembley.

Across that run, inclusive of the playoffs, Fulham put together 20 wins and lost just two of their final 27 Championship contests. Opening up today at Craven Cottage, Fulham last lost a home league game back in October 2017.

The club have spent big upon their return too. Fulham have brought in 13 major deals over the summer and have spent the best part of £100m-odd to produce a squad capable of maintaining top-flight status at the first time of asking. Seven of the club's new signings are featuring from the off this afternoon.

A number of those arrivals at Craven Cottage have raised a fair few eyebrows across the footballing world, with the club seemingly attracting a number of standout stars in the summer window. Fulham spent £27m on landing highly-rated midfielder Seri from Nice, who starts today, while at least a further £23m was spent on Marseille defensive midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa, who is yet to make the squad after a late transfer on deadline day.

Elsewhere, the Cottagers were also able to secure the services of former Newcastle United striker Mitrovic on a permanent basis. The frontman proved crucial in the club's promotion push last term. Other memorable moves come in the form of loan deals for Schurrle, Chambers and Luciano Vietto. Promising centre-back Alfie Mawson was also acquired from relegated Swansea City for around £15m.

Jokanovic has put his faith in a number of new boys for their season opener. Three of the club's starting back four joined over the summer, leaving Christie as the only defender who has previously spent time at Craven Cottage. It's a big gamble, but looking at the Fulham's starting XI many fans will be admiring the quality on show. It doesn't look far off a side that could potentially be challenging for the minimum of a top-10 finish this term.

Looking at the opening game of their campaign, Fulham have managed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last five opening fixtures in the top flight. In fact, the Cottagers have not lost an opening day home match since 1989.

Fulham boss Jokanovic will become the first Serbian to take charge of a Premier League game this afternoon. Serbia is now the 23rd nation from the international community to have a Premier League manager.

As for the away side, Palace fans will be heading into the new season with plenty of confidence following Hodgson's heroics last term.

A disastrous start to the 2017-18 season saw the Eagles looking odds on for relegation, but in came Hodgson who was able to turn around results despite often being rocked by a number of high-profile injuries.

Part of a promising run at the back end of last term saw Palace end the 2017-18 campaign unbeaten in six games, inclusive of four wins. Zaha and Ruben Loftus-Cheek proved the key men going forward for Palace last season. Loftus-Cheek has now returned to parent club Chelsea, but Palace will be delighted having staved off mounting interest from Europe's elite for the services of Zaha.

Hodgson has bolstered his squad with a few important signings as the club aim to push for a top-half finish this time around. Cheikhou Kouyate and Max Meyer have come into midfield after much-talked-about moves, while a lone deal for Jordan Ayew could provide Hodgson with a better option should the likes of Benteke or Alexander Sorloth go missing.

Coach Hodgson will be coming into the contest with very fond memories of his time spent at Craven Cottage. The veteran manager has acquired legendary status at the club after leading the side to the Europa League final in 2010 during an impressive three-year stint.

Today marks Hodgson's 18th Premier League match against a side he has previously led. The coach drew both of his previous encounters with Fulham. Hodgson has a record of winning seven, drawing four and losing six against clubs he has managed in the past.

Opening day games played away from home have tended to suit the Eagles in recent times. Both of the club's opening-day Premier League victories have materialised on the road, beating Everton in 1997 and Norwich City in 2015.

Palace have won just once in their last eight games against Fulham. That victory came courtesy of a 2-0 win in the Premier League at Selhurst Park in 2004. In fact, Palace have not won at Craven Cottage since a 3-2 victory at the ground in the second tier back in 1986.

Encounters between the sides have often proven to be high-scoring affairs in contemporary times. There has been 13 goals scored in the last three meetings featuring the clubs.

The teams have faced up against each other four times in the Premier League. Fulham have won two, drawn one and lost one during that time dating back to 2004.

PREDICTION! This opener looks a real tough one to call. Palace played some electric football at times last season and Hodgson has also been able to keep hold of the formidable Zaha. Fulham, meanwhile, have bought brilliantly and clearly have plenty of their own quality on show this afternoon. Whether or not the Cottagers can gel quickly is another question entirely, though. We should see goals and I'm backing a 2-2 draw.

Coming into the contest, Fulham boss Jokanovic told BBC Sport that he is expecting his side to show quality from the off as they aim to create a side worthy of a longstanding Premier League status: "It's important to show ambition and desire to stay up - that's our first target. We're building a team to be competitive at this level. We've made a great investment in the transfer market and I'm hoping we'll see an immediate benefit."

As for Hodgson, the former England boss is hoping that the Eagles can steer clear of their horrendous opening under previous management at the start of last season: "We know more than most [after Palace lost all seven of their opening fixtures last season] what a bad start can bring. We just need to make sure we are fully prepared for the first game and make a good game of it. We feel we're ready."

We're expecting a pleasant afternoon in south London today with the players featuring under some bright and sunny spells. Here's a quick glimpse of Craven Cottage from a little earlier:


The players are now making their way out onto the pitch and are received by a standing ovation from the Cottage. Here's a quick recap of the starting XIs before we get moving here...

FULHAM STARTING XI: Fabri; Christie, Chambers, Le Marchand, Bryan; McDonald, Seri, Cairney; Schurrle, Mitrovic, Sessegnon

CRYSTAL PALACE STARTING XI: Hennessey; Wan Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp; Benteke, Zaha


KICKOFF:  Here we go then, Fulham get us moving in front of an expectant home crowd in black and white, while Palace feature in typical red and blue...

The home side start brightly with the ball being fed into Mitrovic with his back to goal. The striker aims to roll his man and find Sessegnon, but Tomkins stands up strong to thwart the danger.

SAVE!  This is a real strong start from the home side with Fulham attacking with promising intent early on. The ball is shifted out wide to full-back Christie on the right, who opens up to lash a shot towards the bottom corner, where Hennessey gets down well to save.

Palace have dropped deep in the opening minutes as Fulham look to do most of the probing inside the away half. The Eagles will not mind that too much with Zaha and company ready to pounce on the break.

Seri and McDonald appear comfortable on the ball in the middle of the park as the hosts zip possession around with vigour here. Nothing too much going forward for either side, but Fulham are playing some football that is rather pleasing on the eye.

First glimmers of quality from Zaha... The winger drags Chambers out wide before skilfully flicking the ball beyond his man. The Fulham defender can only respond by dragging down the Palace player, who is able to buy a decent free kick. The ball is sent long into the box, where Le Marchand eventually clears.

CLOSE!  Cairney does well to find space on the edge of the box and he slips in a pass for Sessegnon beyond the last man. The youngster gets his head up to square across the box for Schurrle at the back post, although van Aanholt does just about enough to prevent the forward from prodding into an empty net. Excellent recovery from the Palace full-back to save his team.

SAVE!  More nice work from Fulham sees Schurrle pull wide on the right this time, before switching the ball into the middle for Mitrovic, who just holds his run to pull free of Tomkins. The striker bends an effort towards goal, leaving Hennessey to make a crucial save by tipping the ball wide to his right.

SAVE!  Palace threaten the goal for the first time now as Townsend drifts inside with the ball from the right flank. With few options, the winger opens up on his right and drives a shot down low, which Fabri deals with comfortably.

Schurrle is just a little too quick for Milivojevic, who brings the winger down under pressure on the edge of the box after some quick feet from the German. This is perfect Mitrovic range!

After all of the build-up, which sees Mitrovic wave all of his teammates away, the striker steps up to bend his effort straight into the wall without being able to test Hennessey. A chance wasted for the hosts...

The hosts have seemingly gelled well so far considering the number of new faces on show. Fulham's short-range passing has been excellent inside the first 20 minutes. After a lacklustre start, Palace are just starting to find their feet with some focus being put down both of the flanks.

Wan-Bissaka has handled Sessegnon well thus far, but the youngster eventually makes mince meat of the full-back to collect a smart pass beyond from Bryan and turn a ball into the middle. Palace have the numbers back, though, allowing Tomkins to hoof away the danger.

SHOT!  The Cottagers are just turning the screw after a period of possessional dominance inside the Palace half. The ball falls kindly for Seri on the edge of the box, but the new man's effort crashes into the legs of Schurrle before it can test Hennessey.

Hodgson may just be growing slightly concerned with Palace's approach in the last five minutes. The visitors have found it hard to keep the ball when winning it back and Fulham appear to be piling the pressure straight back onto the Eagles at any given opportunity.

Christie takes possession down the right channel and aims a swinging ball into the middle for Mitrovic, leaving Milivojevic to get a vital foot in to avert the danger with the striker lurking in the centre of the box.

SAVE!  Monumental keeping from Fabri to keep Fulham level. Townsend chases a seemingly lost cause down the right and eventually meets the ball at the byline to cross into the middle. Benteke leaps highest and sends a looping header towards the top corner, where Fabri is up to tip the ball away from goal at the crucial moment.

Fulham continue to make progress down the right despite that warning flash from Palace. Christie swings another delivery into the centre for the head of Mitrovic, but Sakho does well to put the frontman off under pressure.

Palace almost catch Fulham napping in the centre as Benteke steals in to send the ball loose. It looks like Zaha might just be fed into space, although Chambers gets across to cover and put his foot in to steal back possession.

CLOSE!  Fulham continue to move the ball around with great energy and a gap opens up for Christie down the right. Cairney finds the right-back with a brilliant ball, leaving the defender to lash a cross into a dangerous area in front of Hennessey. Not one Fulham body decides to gamble, though, leaving the ball to run free across the face of goal.

SAVE!  More great footwork eventually sees a pass threaded into the feet of Mitrovic, who spins and fires a shot sharply towards goal. Hennessey is equal to it, however, as is Wan Bissaka who hooks the rebound clear before Sessegnon can pounce on it.

YELLOW CARD!  Zaha goes into the book now as he clips Seri, who moves free of his marker with a neat turn in the middle of the pitch before being brought down cynically. The midfielder has settled perfectly into his central role for Fulham this afternoon.

GOAL!  FULHAM 0-1 CRYSTAL PALACE (JEFFREY SCHLUPP)

Fulham will be gutted with this. The hosts stand up to van Aanholt who then decides to feed Schlupp beyond the defensive line. Chambers tries to go with him but gets rolled by the midfielder, who then fires a wicked shot with his left in at the near post. Fulham stopper Fabri should do much better, though, as he dives under the shot which he should probably save.

DISALLOWED GOAL!  Palace are awake now and van Aanholt thinks he has earned his side a second when he collects the ball beyond the last man. His finish into the far top corner is exquisite, but the linesman already has his flag raised for offside.

We are going to have two minutes of additional time in this enthralling first half of football...

HALF TIME:  FULHAM 0-1 CRYSTAL PALACE

Jokanovic will be disappointed at the break with his side sharing possessional dominance of that half. Fulham have played some intriguing stuff thus far but now find themselves a goal behind with absolutely nothing to show for their positivity in the first 45 minutes.

Palace have rarely been in the match but have offered a few glimmers of danger on the counter. The opening goal came as a result of some poor goalkeeping, but you have to give some of the plaudits to Schlupp for his quick thinking to lash in at the near post.

Hodgson will likely have a smile on his face now despite his side being off the boil for the first 30 minutes. Palace are setup perfectly now to work off the counter. Zaha and Townsend could prove crucial as Fulham press for a leveller in the second period.

Going into the second period Hodgson will want more of the same from his side, who have at times sat deep but have also used their quality at the crucial moments. The players are now making their way back out onto the pitch. We will be moving agains shortly.

SECOND HALF! Here we go then, Palace kick off the second period at Craven Cottage... Can the hosts find a route back into this encounter?

It's a bright start from Fulham here as Schurrle comes away free down the right before turning a cross into the middle. Sessegnon looks to break onto it at the back post, but can only foul van Aanholt in the process.

We're seeing much the same pattern as the first period here, Fulham are moving the ball with enterprise but there's not too much cutting edge in the final third. Palace appear content to continue sitting off at the moment.

CLOSE! Fulham make a real mess of a free kick inside the Palace half, which allows the visitors to scamper away on the break. The ball is soon fed into the path of Benteke, but he takes way too long to get his shot away and Fulham can recover. More of a cutting edge there and Palace could have been two ahead.

Sessegnon and Schurrle have made a switch on the flanks as they aim to mix things up going forward. The former seeks out the latter with a smart through ball, but Hennessey is quick off his line to gather.

A few challenges are being thrown in now - this is what we want to see from a London derby!

Fulham are still dominating possession as they push for a leveller, but nothing doing so far. Palace will know that they always have a chance of a second when Fulham start to overcommit as this game moves forward.

Palace spin a brilliant counter from the centre of the pitch and the ball is switched quickly out wide to the left, where both Benteke and Zaha are left scampering free. Benteke takes a poor touch, however, leaving Zaha screaming at his teammate who needlessly allows the move to break down and Fulham to win a throw.

SHOUTS FOR A PENALTY! Schurrle seemingly spins Sakho in the box and replays suggest that the Palace man might just have been a little bit late on the winger. No real complaints from the player, though, as Mike Dean waves play on. That's also Schurrle's last contribution as he is subbed off for Aboubakar Kamara.

SAVE!  Zaha should make it 2-0 to Palace... A speculative long ball is headed down superbly into space by Benteke, allowing Zaha to come onto the ball inside the area. The frontman takes a little too much time with his volley, which is saved by the legs of the outstretched Fabri.

SAVE!  Nice work from left-back Bryan, who shifts the ball out from his feet early to send a cross towards the near post for Mitrovic. The frontman beats the challenge of his marker, but can only glance a decent header straight into the arms of a thankful Hennessey.

Townsend sense the danger as he pulls wide on the right and tears down the flank. The winger bends an effort into the middle towards Benteke, leaving Chambers to intercept with a clever diving header.

Bryan has been impressive down the left for Fulham but it looks like his day might just come to an end as he rolls his ankle under a tackle from Zaha. Fulham are now readying a couple of changes on the touchline.

SUBSTITUTION: Bryan comes out of the fray and is replaced by loan forward Vietto. It looks like Sessegnon might just shift into that left-back position for the remainder of the game.

Seri drifts over to the right flank with the ball and he aims to bend a cross towards the back post, but he leaves way too much on the effort and the ball evades everyone inside the area. Jokanovic looks on bemused.

Fulham are looking a little short of ideas going forward despite seeing so much of the ball here. Kamara aims to bend one from distance, leaving his shot to go sailing over the bar with Hennessey scrambling just to make sure.

It's still all Fulham as we head into a crucial stage in the game. Cairney looks a touch desperate with a long range effort that thunders into the body of Tomkins. The hosts are struggling for ideas now...

GOAL!  FULHAM 0-2 CRYSTAL PALACE (WILFRIED ZAHA)

The perfect game plan pays off for Palace. Wan-Bissaka wins the ball in the middle of the pitch and produces a wonderful run forward right at the heart of the Fulham defence. The full-back plays the ball beyond the last man for Zaha, who then lifts the ball beyond Fabri who comes racing off his line in bemusing fashion.

Fulham will need to learn quickly from this defeat as this sort of football might just prove the blueprint to beat them. Palace have played this game perfectly without ever really having to move beyond second gear. Credit to Hodgson for that, but Fulham have been far too wasteful on the edge of the box.

Fulham are still proceeding to give this a go, but the approach is surely far too measured now. Plenty of neat passes but no end product today.

SUBSTITUTION: Hodgson is eating some time out of the game. Zaha comes off to a standing ovation as he is replaced by new signing Cheikhou Kouyate.

SAVE!  It could be a late consultation for Fulham as Sessegnon heads towards goal at the back post. Hennessey sees it late and low, but is still able to make a strong reaction save to seemingly earn himself a clean sheet.

We are going to have five minutes of additional time at Craven Cottage...

Kouyate nearly makes a telling impact on the break during injury time as he races away down the right channel inside the area. The substitute opens up to smash an effort towards the near post, where Fabri turns the ball wide for a corner.

FULL TIME:  FULHAM 0-2 CRYSTAL PALACE

That will be tough for Fulham to take, but these are the realities of top-flight football. Palace picked the newcomers off at the crucial moments and for all of Fulham's possession, Jokanovic's men never really looked like finding a way past Hennessey and company. Palace played the game perfectly and stood up when it mattered most inside the box. That's going to be all from me this afternoon, thanks for joining us!

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