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August 20 2018 7.26am

Palace get their season off to a flyer

August 11 2018

Jeffrey Schlupp

Jeffrey Schlupp

Crystal Palace got their season off to the ideal start by beating Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

Manager Roy Hodgson enjoyed a happy return to his former club with a hard-fought win over the Premier League newcomers.

The West Londoners had the lion's share of possession and chances in the first half and Palace were grateful to Wayne Hennessey who produced some important stops.

The Welshman dived low to push out shots from Cyrus Christie and later Aleksandar Mitrovic who was a threat in the early stages.

Fulham keeper Fabri tipped away a Christian Benteke header in a rare Eagles attempt, while Hennessey repelled striker Mitrovic with yet another save.

Four minutes before the break, and against the run of play, Palace got themselves in front through midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp who notched his first Eagles goal.

Patrick van Aanholt combined with Andros Townsend before feeding Schlupp in the area and the Ghana international turned and blasted a ferocious strike into the goal's roof.

Two minutes later, Van Aanholt fired the ball into the net from the right but the 'goal' was correctly disallowed for offside.

Hodgson's men pressed for another one after the interval as Fabri saved Van Aanholt's swerving effort with his chest and later Wilfried Zaha's shot with his foot from Christian Benteke's nod-down.

Fulham had a major penalty claim rejected by referee Mike Dean when Andre Schurrle went down under a Mamadou Sakho challenge in the area.

Palace doubled their lead in the 79th minute on the counter attack after Aaron Wan-Bissaka did brilliantly well to carry the ball out of defence and hold off a challenge from Mitrovic, before making a slide-rule pass to Zaha who tucked the ball under the onrushing Fabri.

Attempts from Ryan Sessegnon and Aboubakar Kamara couldn't get past the impressive Hennessey as the goalie held on for a clean sheet.

Eagles substitute Cheikhou Kouyate almost added another goal on his debut, but his drive was turned away by Fabri in the closing stages.

Fulham: Fabri, Christie, Chambers, Le Marchand, Bryan (Vietto 71), Cairney, McDonald, Seri (Johansen 82), Schurrle (Kamara 61), Sessegnon, Mitrovic.

Not used: Rico, Fosu-Mensah, Cisse, Kebano.

Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Sakho, Tomkins, Van Aanholt (Souare 90), Townsend (Kouyate 88), McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Zaha, Benteke (Sorloth 83).

Not used: Guaita, Ward, Kelly, Riedewald.

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