Fulham edge Portsmouth on travels
Sulaiman al-Fahim was caught up in traffic but arrived at Fratton Park just in time to witness Fulham's fortuitous winner, and see for himself the work required at Portsmouth. Al-Fahim, who is fronting a potential takeover of Pompey, took his seat and saw Bobby Zamora break the deadlock with a fluke, before Roy Hodgson's men held on to start their Premier League campaign with maximum points.
The goal summed up the uncertainty at Portsmouth, Alexandre Gaydamak trying to sell the club and Paul Hart considered the favourite with the bookmakers to be the first top-flight manager sacked this season. Fulham simply continued where they left off in May, with UEFA Europa League qualification meaning they face Amkar Perm on Thursday.
Zamora, despite his work rate, scored only two league goals last term. He was therefore due a stroke of luck and, after getting through the traffic on the A3, Al-Fahim saw the 13th-minute fluke. Clint Dempsey set his sights on goal from 25 yards, and his effort struck Zamora on the back before spinning past David James and creeping in.
It could have got worse for Pompey when Danny Murphy's free-kick found Zamora at the far post, James tipping the header over the bar. The veteran goalkeeper had missed England's midweek friendly in the Netherlands, but recovered sufficiently from shoulder surgery to start against Fulham.
Sylvain Distin and James still being at the club for the start of the season has been seen as reason to be positive at Portsmouth, following the departure of Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson in the summer.
They enjoyed a spell of pressure after the opener. Nadir Belhadj fed debutant Frederic Piquionne, the Frenchman forcing Mark Schwarzer into a low save with this drive.
Niko Kranjcar then lifted a free-kick over the bar from a dangerous position, and Belhadj should have levelled when Kranjcar's corner found him unmarked. However, the left-back totally missed his header.
The hosts created a chance to equalise early in the second half after work from Piquionne down the right flank. The ball was pulled back to Hayden Mullins, who picked out Younes Kaboul on the edge of the penalty area, but his finish was lifted over the bar.
Piquionne could not be faulted for effort. He raced down the left from Kranjcar's pass, but when he crossed there was no support from the midfield. Kranjcar had an attempt himself on the hour, but his drive was too high, and he was also inches away from a Belhadj cross.
But Pompey were always one step from self-destruction, which was the case when Marc Wilson missed a simple clearance from Zamora's cross. Fortunately for the young centre-back, Andrew Johnson planted his finish wide when he had plenty of time.
Hart responded by bringing on Kanu, who has just signed a one-month deal at Portsmouth, but the Nigerian forward could not earn his side a point. Kaboul headed a late chance over. David Nugent, who was jeered by supporters after being disciplined by the club in pre-season, also lifted an effort over.