Petric Scores Twice as Fulham Blanks Norwich City
Striker Mladen Petric scored twice in his debut and assisted one more as Fulham opened its Barclays Premier League campaign in impressive fashion, blanking Norwich City, 5-0 Saturday at Craven Cottage.
Many were expecting Fulham to struggle offensively this season after losing striker Andrew Johnson to Queens Park Ranger and the absence of Clint Dempsey, who is trying to force a move to Liverpool.
But Petric, a signee from Hamburg this summer, stepped up for manager Martin Jol, scoring in the 41st and 54th minute to lead Fulham's charge to an impressive victory.
Damien Duff opened scoring for Fulham in the 26th minute while Alex Kacaniklic scored his first Fulham goal in the 66th minute from an assist by Petric to make it 4-0 substitute Steve Sidwell unleashed a fierce penalty kick in the 87th minute to seal the rout.
Norwich had a chance to score in the first half but Andrew Surman's attempt was saved by goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Earlier, Dempsey, Fulham's leading scorer with 23 goals last year, was fined by an undisclosed amount for refusing to play against Norwich. Dempsey has earlier said that he will not play for Fulham again and is eyeing a transfer to Liverpool.
In other matches, Arsenal started life after Robin van Persie with a scoreless draw against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.
West Ham United was victorious in its return to Barclays Premier League, beating Aston Villa, 1-0, behind Kevin Nolan's close-range strike at Upton Park. The West Ham captain turned in a low cross from Ricardo Vaz Te five minutes before half-time for the only goal of the game.
Over at the Loftus Road Stadium, midfielders Miguel Cuesta and Nathan Dyer scored two goals apiece while Scott Sinclair added another as Swansea City blanked Queens Park Rangers, 5-0.
Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku scored as West Brom stunned Liverpool, 3-0, at the Hawthorns while Reading and Stoke City battled to a 1-1 draw at Madejski Stadium.
Hatem Ben Arfa stroked home a late penalty as Newcastle United defeated Tottenham Hotspur, 2-1, at Sports Direct Arena. The Frenchman sent Brad Friedel the wrong way in the 80th minute after being fouled by Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon.
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