Match ends, Fulham 0, Crystal Palace 2.
Fulham began their return to the Premier League with a home defeat by Crystal Palace, who matched the new arrivals' adventurous display with a smart and clinical away performance.
At the end of a half defined by Fulham's failure to make more from slick passing and movement in attack, Patrick van Aanholt found Jeffrey Schlupp, who smashed home from inside the box amid slack marking from Calum Chambers.
Aleksandar Mitrovic had twice been denied by smart Wayne Hennessey stops, with Cyrus Christie also turned away from range, as seven new faces in the Fulham line-up showed few signs of failing to gel.
But Slavisa Jokanovic's side, whose squad has been boosted by 12 new signings, were kept at arm's length as Palace defended strongly and threatened on the break.
It was a pattern that grew in emphasis in the second half, despite Fulham having a big penalty claim turned down when Andre Schurrle went down under a Mamadou Sakho challenge in the box.
Just moments later, Wilfried Zaha should have doubled the lead but his low shot inside the box was diverted behind by Fabri's legs.
But the Ivory Coast forward finally did seal the win with 11 minutes to play when coolly finishing under the Spanish goalkeeper after latching on to Aaron Wan-Bissaka's through ball.
Fulham - who drew 2-2 with Palace in their previous top-flight fixture in May 2014 - may feel the result does not tell the whole story of the match; they had 66.3% possession and mustered 14 shots at goal.
However, it was Palace who emerged with greater reward from their share of the ball, from which they conjured nine shots on target, including two very well-taken goals.
New-look Fulham start brightly but fade
Five deadline-day signings on Thursday brought Fulham's total summer spend over the £100m mark - no promoted club has spent more before taking on English football's top flight.
Only Chelsea and Liverpool invested more, and the calibre of the signings the Cottagers made will have raised expectations beyond a 17th-placed finish.
On the surface at least, the west London club has strengthened in every position, and clearly the ambition is to continue the attractive style that brought them up as Championship play-off winners in May.
They started very brightly - for much of the first half you wondered whether Palace would be able to hang on - but after Schlupp's goal the zip and momentum that marked the game's early stages seemed to dim slightly.
Of the new signings, Jean Michael Seri was Fulham's outstanding performer, dogged and stylish in midfield, but even the 27-year-old Ivorian, who was strongly linked to Barcelona last year, could not halt Palace's growing influence on the match in the second half.
New year, new start, old Palace
Last season Palace began their campaign with a run of seven consecutive defeats in which they failed to score a single goal.
It was on 14 October 2017 when they finally found the net and won a game, beating Chelsea 2-1 at home under Roy Hodgson, his fourth match in charge following the sacking of Frank de Boer.
On Friday, Palace and Hodgson added an extra year to his contract, which now runs until 2020 - the reward for a strong end to the season that saw Palace climb the table and finish 11th.
Coming away from Craven Cottage with a valuable win earned through hard work and concentration in defiance of an exciting attacking line-up, Hodgson's team carried on here like they left off in May.
There were nervy moments - the decision not to punish Sakho for his slide on Schurrle most obviously, and Hennessey made several important saves - but Palace ultimately deserved victory, not only for the quality of their defensive performance but for their slick and sharp counter attacking, too.
By comparison with Fulham, a modest number of four new faces arrived at Selhurst Park this summer - two of which were absent from the squad - Jordan Ayew and Max Meyer.
Ex-West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate came on for his debut late on, with the three points already won, while goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, an observer from the bench, will have no chance of replacing Hennessey anytime soon on this form.
Man of the match - Wayne Hennessey
A first for Schlupp - the stats
- This was only the third time in 10 Premier League campaigns that Palace won their opening match, with all of those victories coming away from home
- This was Fulham's first league defeat at Craven Cottage since October 2017 (0-2 v Bristol City), ending a run of 15 without loss at home (W12 D3)
- Fulham have won just 25 of their 119 Premier League London derbies (21%), the lowest win rate in such matches in the competition
- Wilfried Zaha's strike was his 23rd in the Premier League for Palace - no player has scored more for the club in the competition (level with Chris Armstrong)
- Jeffrey Schlupp scored his first Premier League goal for Crystal Palace, and first in the competition in 1043 days - 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 (three goals, two assists)-
'We must stick together' - what they said
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic told BBC Sport: "It was a shame because we wanted to start the season with a good result. We showed some positives and negatives. We showed we can be brave and can move the ball, but we must stick together and keep going.
"Maybe it was a penalty or not, but we cannot complain about that, and they showed their quality in the second half. We have to trust ourselves and work hard, and we know we can play better than today.
"I used two players who have only been with us a few days and I need more time. Now we are going to have all week in front of us to work hard and not look behind.
"The Premier League is more power, more speed and more quality, and we must adapt. We followed the game plan and created some half chances but we didn't show enough quality in the opposition box and their goalkeeper made some saves."
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson told BBC Sport: "I thought we were much better in the second half. I thought Fulham played well in the first period and caused us problems, but our goalkeeper made some good saves.
"We had better control in the second half and it was difficult for them to come back into it. We showed the quality we are capable of in the second half.
"Vicente Guaita has been excellent for us in pre-season and, quite frankly, it was a toss of the coin between him and Wayne Hennessey. I would have been equally confident had Vicente played but Wayne Henessesy played well last season and there was no reason for him to surrender his shirt."
'Fulham have to play quicker'
BBC Match of the Day pundit Ian Wright
Fulham started really well. They closed down Wilfried Zaha and didn't give him much space.
But the opportunities they had were few and far between.
They've got to get the ball into Aleksandar Mitrovic quicker. They're going to have to play a lot quicker or get the ball into him quicker.
- 20Le Marchand
- 23BryanSubstituted forViettoat 71'minutes
- 6McDonaldBooked at 34mins
- 24SeriSubstituted forJohansenat 82'minutes
- 14SchürrleSubstituted forKamaraat 61'minutes
- 3R Sessegnon
- 3van AanholtSubstituted forSouaréat 90+2'minutes
- 10TownsendSubstituted forKouyatéat 88'minutes
- 15SchluppBooked at 74mins
- 17BentekeSubstituted forSørlothat 83'minutes
- 11ZahaBooked at 40mins
- Mike Dean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Fulham 0, Crystal Palace 2.
Offside, Crystal Palace. James McArthur tries a through ball, but Wilfried Zaha is caught offside.
Foul by Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham).
Pape Souaré (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Fabri.
Attempt saved. Cheikhou Kouyaté (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexander Sørloth.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Pape Souaré replaces Patrick van Aanholt.
Attempt missed. Luciano Vietto (Fulham) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Aboubakar Kamara with a cross.
Attempt saved. Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luciano Vietto with a cross.
Attempt saved. Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cyrus Christie with a cross.
Stefan Johansen (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Cheikhou Kouyaté replaces Andros Townsend.
Attempt saved. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham).
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Alexander Sørloth replaces Christian Benteke.
Offside, Fulham. Maxime Le Marchand tries a through ball, but Aboubakar Kamara is caught offside.
Substitution, Fulham. Stefan Johansen replaces Jean Michael Seri.