English Premier League

Crystal Palace 0 – 0 Fulham

Crystal Palace and Fulham cancelled each other out in a dreary goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

The visitors had the better opportunities in a first half lacking in guile, but Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone parried Andreas Pereira’s angled drive to safety before diving low to his left to keep out Willian’s effort.

Raul Jimenez, who has yet to score a competitive goal for Fulham since his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers, also stung Johnstone’s palms with a powerful shot after taking Pereira’s long ball in his stride.

Eberechi Eze was Palace’s biggest threat, firing a long-range free-kick straight at Bernd Leno before drilling narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area.

Chances were few and far between in an equally disjointed second period, Willian shooting at Johnstone from the corner of the six-yard box before substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta sent a tame effort into Leno’s gloves late on.

Both teams climb a place in the table after Nottingham Forest’s defeat at Manchester City, with Palace rising to eighth and Fulham up to ninth.

Palace fail to fire on Hodgson return

Eagles manager Hodgson was back in the dugout at Selhurst Park after missing last weekend’s defeat at Aston Villa through illness.

The 76-year-old confessed himself pleased with the Eagles’ showing in the 3-1 reverse at Villa Park, but there was little for Hodgson or the vociferous Palace supporters to get excited about here as the hosts failed to score for the second time in three home matches.

Eze, making his 100th appearance for the club in all competitions, went closest for Palace when he sidestepped a challenge on the edge of the box and drilled narrowly past Leno’s left-hand post.

The former Queens Park Rangers man wanted a penalty in the second half after being sent tumbling to the floor by Fulham midfielder Harrison Reed, but referee Paul Tierney waved play on.

Odsonne Edouard, who has scored four of Palace’s six league goals this season, had a shot deflected onto the roof of the net by Leno, but the Frenchman’s effort would have been disallowed as he was in an offside position from Eze’s pass.

Fulham lack clinical edge

As for Fulham, the question remains who is going to fill the goalscoring boots of the departed Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Manager Marco Silva kept faith with former Wolves striker Jimenez in south London but the 32-year-old, who scored three goals for Mexico during the last international break, has now gone 29 Premier League appearances without finding the net.

He was denied by an impressive Johnstone save in the first half, but the striker should have picked out the unmarked Pereira at the end of a second-half Fulham counter-attack.

Willian spurned a late opportunity to win the game when he latched on to a low cross from the right, only to shoot straight at Johnstone.

Fulham have kept more clean sheets than any other team in the top flight this season, but, with home games against Chelsea and Sheffield United coming up in early October, Silva will be desperate for his side to rediscover their cutting edge at the other end of the pitch.


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