Fulham 1-1 Real Betis: Early Sidwell header cancelled out by Igiebor

Martin Jol fielded new signings including Maarten Stekelenburg and Derek Boateng but his side struggled for fluidity throughout and were punished after the break by the Liga outfit
Fulham were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Betis at Craven Cottage as Steve Sidwell's early header was cancelled out by Nosa Igiebor's second-half strike.

Martin Jol's side struggled to create clear-cut chances throughout the contest and it required a set piece after 13 minutes for the hosts to get on the scoresheet.

In contrast, Betis were the more assured in possession and their incisive build-up play was rewarded after the break through Igiebor's close-range effort.

New Fulham owner Shahid Khan was given a warm reception from the home support but the majority of the noise inside Craven Cottage was generated by the effervescent Betis crowd who were packed into the west side of the Johnny Haynes Stand.

The visitors looked comfortable in possession from the opening and although no chances were created, Fulham found it difficult to find any rhythm.

But despite Betis being able to settle quickly into the tie, the hosts took the lead as Sidwell neatly glanced a header at the near post past Stephan Andersen from Bryan Ruiz's corner.

Shortly after the opener, Jol's men had the ball in the net once again as Berbatov effortlessly chipped a shot over Andersen but the Bulgarian was at least two yards ahead of the last Betis defender.

Further opportunities were few and far between in the opening half but Fulham will be encouraged by the display of summer signing Derek Boateng, who showed impressive power as a midfield anchor, while Maarten Stekelenburg was largely untested.

Betis started the second half in the same fashion as the first and their possession-based football paid off after 54 minutes as Igiebor powered into the box with the ball, weaved past Fernando Amorebieta, and lifted his effort over Stekelenburg from close range.

Fulham struggled to contain the pressure from Betis and another well-worked move from the visitors allowed Jorge Molina to test Stekelenburg, but the forward's attempt was directed straight at the Dutchman.

The hosts then had a second attempt chalked off for offside as Sascha Riether's excellent delivery was met at the back post by Hugo Rodallega, but the assistant referee's flag was already raised by the time the ball had hit the back of the net.

Berbatov was instrumental in attempting to revive Fulham's attacking play in the final third but the Bulgarian was often let down by his team-mates.

Second-half substitute Damien Duff had a half chance to grab a winner for Fulham but the winger could not divert the ball past Andersen on the stretch.

Jol's men face one final friendly against Parma at Craven Cottage on August 10 before their Premier League season opener at Sunderland.