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Fulham 1-0 Newcastle Cham 01 1617 - BBCSports

last updated Tuesday 09th August 2016, 11:24 AM

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Phil Cartwright at BBCSports

Fulham (1) 1-0 (0) Newcastle

Championship title favourites Newcastle United were beaten 1-0 by Fulham in the opening match of the 2016-17 season.

Matt Smith headed in Tom Cairney's corner just before half-time to condemn the Magpies, relegated from the Premier League last season, to defeat.

The visitors had strong claims for a penalty before Smith's goal but Ryan Tunnicliffe's handball went unpunished.

Fulham goalkeeper David Button saved twice from Matt Ritchie, one of five Newcastle debutants at Craven Cottage.

Manager Rafael Benitez has spent close to £45m on eight summer signings but winger Ritchie and £10m striker Dwight Gayle were largely stifled by a Fulham side which finished 20th in the Championship last term.

England international Jonjo Shelvey was among the substitutes thrown on by Benitez in an attempt to get something from the game, but the hosts held firm.

Fulham offered a threat going forward, despite the departures of prolific strike partners Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele during the summer, with new arrivals Sone Aluko and Floyd Ayite linking up well with Smith in attack.

Aluko's appeals for a penalty after a possible push by Grant Hanley were ignored by referee Simon Hooper, while left-back Scott Malone fired just off target as Fulham chased a second goal.

Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic said: "My players were very organised, we stuck to the plan, we suffered together during the game and we deserve the good result.

"My job is here, and there are many big names like Newcastle, we're a big name too. It's an important competition with many clubs of big histories and both fans were really good tonight.

"This is only the start but we have to be ready for what comes next."

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez said: "At the beginning we were nervous, in the second half we made the wrong decisions.

"It's a wake-up call. We will have games more difficult than this one.

"If we play for something more important than the first game of the season maybe the anxiety will be even higher, we need to make sure we can manage that and play better."

Ex-Newcastle and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas told BBC Radio 5 live: "Fulham thoroughly deserved it.

"They marshalled the game as they wanted it to go, they picked their opportunities to attack and Matt Smith was the match-winner.

"For Newcastle, it's back to the drawing board. It just didn't go their way."

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