Hull City celebrated their first-ever Premier League match in style as Caleb Folan's late goal clinched a 2-1 win over Fulham. Phil Brown's side were playing among English football's elite for the first time in their 104-year history, and the 25-year-old forward sent a sold-out KC Stadium home happy.
The Tigers got off to a rocky start when Korea Republic winger Seol Ki-Hyeon fired Fulham into an early lead with his first goal for the west London club. But Hull, who won promotion via the Championship play-offs, refused to be overawed by the step up in class and equalised through Geovanni, before Folan struck the winner in the final minutes.
Brown gave debuts to Anthony Gardner, Geovanni, George Boateng and Marlon King, with fellow new boys Craig Fagan, Bernard Mendy and Peter Halmosi on the bench. With record signing Andrew Johnson sidelined due to a thigh injury, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson gave Bobby Zamora his first run out.
Fulham created the first opportunity when Seol surged past Michael Turner on the left, but Simon Davies was unable to convert his cross. Hull went even closer when Geovanni met Richard Garcia's flick with a goal-bound header that Mark Schwarzer clawed away. The Australian goalkeeper then recovered well to scramble clear Ian Ashbee's follow-up.
The Cottagers took full advantage of that escape, with Seol breaking the deadlock in the eighth minute. Jimmy Bullard was given plenty of time to cross from the right wing, and the Korean burst into the penalty area to beat Boaz Myhill with a perfectly-placed header into the far corner.
Davies twice went close to increasing Fulham's lead, but Hull equalised in the 22nd minute with a magnificent strike from Geovanni. The Brazilian, who joined from Manchester City in pre-season, made a charge towards goal from the right flank and curled a left-footed shot past Schwarzer from 20 yards.
Geovanni's strike sent a wave of confidence surging through Hull. They were suddenly a more dynamic force, and Nick Barmby headed just wide from a Sam Ricketts cross late on in the half.
Fulham winger Zoltan Gera wasted an excellent opportunity within two minutes of the restart, when he beat the offside trap but scuffed the ball harmlessly wide from ten yards. Then Geovanni missed a glorious chance to give the home side the lead when he sliced wide from six yards after latching on to Barmby's cross.
The hosts continued to threaten, and Garcia forced Schwarzer into a fine low save after good work by Halmosi.
Fulham were fading fast and Hull snatched the winner with nine minutes left. Fagan robbed Paul Konchesky near the byline, and unselfishly squared the ball for Folan to slide the ball into an empty net.
Hull finished with ten men after Boateng hobbled off injured. However, the hosts survived five minutes of injury time to claim an historic victory.