English Premier League

Everton 0 – 1 Fulham

Substitute Bobby de Cordova-Reid scored the winning goal as Fulham edged to victory over wasteful Everton in their opening game of the new Premier League season.

Forward De Cordova-Reid, who replaced Willian at half-time, snuck in unmarked at the far post to convert from Andreas Pereira’s pass to give manager Marco Silva the perfect start to the new campaign.

The Jamaica international could have added to his 73rd-minute strike but was unable to keep his volley from inside the box under control, but his side still somehow came away with all three points.

Summer signing Raul Jimenez may have also struck the foot of the post for Fulham, but hosts Everton were left ruing the numerous gilt-edged chances they missed.

Striker Neal Maupay squandered the best opportunities, seeing three efforts saved by the inspired Bernd Leno including a sharp, instinctive block from close range.

The German goalkeeper had also denied Abdoulaye Doucoure early on, while full-back Nathan Patterson struck the crossbar from close range, as the Toffees begin the season with a tough-to-take defeat.

Sweet win for Silva

This was a smash and grab victory from Fulham, riding their luck for large periods of the game before hitting Everton with a sucker-punch to take home all three points.

The victory will taste even sweeter for visiting boss Silva, who was sacked by Everton in 2019 but has since bounced back in style by leading the Cottagers to 10th last term.

Pre-season was not a smooth ride for the club, with striker Aleksandar Mitrovic reportedly angling for a move to Saudi Arabia and being left out of the starting line-up for this game.

The Serbia striker was introduced just before the hour mark and forced a save from Jordan Pickford but it was fellow substitute Pereira who made the crucial impact, winning the ball ahead of James Tarkowski and rolling it across goal for De Cordova-Reid’s winner.

Summer signing Jimenez struck the woodwork but it was Everton who left Goodison Park wondering just how they did not come away with anything from the game.

Toffees come unstuck in front of goal

Everton narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of last season and their problems were clearly evident, with a lack of goals in the team.

They scored only 34 times in 38 league games last term and had new signing Youssef Chermiti watching on from the stands following his move from Sporting Lisbon.

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin not fit to play, Frenchman Maupay led the line and the out-of-form striker highlighted his problems in front of goal.

He has scored only one league goal since joining from Brighton last summer and dragged a shot wide in the opening 30 seconds, a sign of more dismay to come.

Maupay then struck straight at Leno from a couple of yards out and could not beat the visiting goalkeeper when put through on goal.

Leno also made a stunning save to keep out Alex Iwobi’s curling strike and Patterson struck the crossbar from the rebound, while Tarkowski headed wide in search of an equaliser late on.

Michael Keane did have the ball in the net in the first half, but it was ruled out by the referee for Tarkowski’s foul on Leno.


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