Fulham defeated wasteful Everton thanks to a goal from substitute Bobby de Cordova-Reid.
Forward De Cordova-Reid, who came in at halftime to replace Willian, slipped in unmarked at the far post to convert Andreas Pereira’s ball, giving manager Marco Silva the ideal start to the new season.
The Jamaica international might have added to his 73rd-minute score but was unable to control his volley from within the area, but his team still managed to take all three points.
Summer commitment Raul Jimenez may have also hit the post for Fulham, but hosts Everton were left cursing the countless golden opportunities they passed up.
Striker Neal Maupay wasted the greatest chances, with three shots saved by the inspired Bernd Leno, including a crisp, instinctive close-range save.
The German goalkeeper had earlier denied Abdoulaye Doucoure, and full-back Nathan Patterson struck the crossbar from close range as the Toffees began the season with a difficult defeat.
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Silva’s victory was sweet.
Fulham won with a smash and grab win, riding their luck for long stretches of the game before striking Everton with a sucker blow to claim all three points.
The triumph will be even sweeter for visiting manager Silva, who was fired by Everton in 2019 but has since rebounded back in style, leading the Cottagers to 10th place last season.
The club’s pre-season was not without incident, with striker Aleksandar Mitrovic apparently eyeing a move to Saudi Arabia and being kept out of the starting lineup for this game.
The Serbia striker came on just before the hour mark and forced Jordan Pickford into a save, but it was fellow substitute Pereira who made the game-changing difference, winning the ball ahead of James Tarkowski and sliding it across goal for De Cordova-Reid’s winner.
Summer commitment Jimenez hit the crossbar, but it was Everton who departed Goodison Park wondering how they had failed to win the game.
The Toffees become bogged down in front of goal.
Everton almost averted relegation on the penultimate day of last season, and their troubles with a lack of goals were obvious.
They only scored 34 goals in 38 league games last season and had new acquisition Youssef Chermiti watching from the stands after joining from Sporting Lisbon.
Due to the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Frenchman Maupay led the line, and the out-of-form striker emphasized his issues in front of goal.
He has only scored one league goal since signing from Brighton last summer, and he pulled a shot wide in the first 30 seconds, indicating more disappointment to follow.
When pushed through on goal, Maupay fired straight at Leno from a couple of yards away and was unable to past the opposing goalkeeper.
Leno also made a spectacular stop to deny Alex Iwobi’s looping shot, and Patterson hit the crossbar from the rebound, before Tarkowski headed wide late on in quest of an equalizer.
In the first half, Michael Keane had the ball in the net, but the referee ruled it out due to Tarkowski’s foul on Leno.