Belgian international Moussa Dembele struck twice as Fulham beat Wolves 2-1 in a physical contest at Craven Cottage which was overshadowed by a broken leg suffered by England striker Bobby Zamora.
Dembele, the first signing of manager Mark Hughes’s reign after arriving in August from AZ Alkmaar, broke Wolves’ resistance with an injury time winner.
He was at the heart of all Fulham’s good work, and had opened his Premier League account with a sweetly struck equaliser on 49 minutes after compatriot Jelle van Damme had put Wolves 1-0 up.
Dembele’s heroics were tempered by the sickening injury suffered by Zamora, who crumpled under a heavy challenge from Wolves skipper Karl Henry in the first half.
Although Henry won the ball, Zamora’s right ankle buckled under the challenge leaving the Fulham player requiring oxygen on the pitch before being stretchered off.
Hughes later confirmed Zamora had suffered a fracture above the ankle.
The challenge set the tone for what was to unfold as a bruising encounter, with Fulham regularly angered by the visitors’ robust approach, which saw five players booked and a sixth, Christophe Berra, sent off.
Fulham were also left fuming at the failure to earn what looked like two cast-iron penalties, referee Phil Dowd remaining unmoved by their appeals.
Fulham had fallen behind against the run of play when an unmarked Van Damme stabbed home a cross to the far post on 10 minutes.
Rocked by the departure of Zamora, Fulham struggled to unsettle Wolves despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession throughout the first half.
Fulham struck back quickly after the restart however, when a Stephen Kelly cross found Dembele from Zoltan Gera, leaving the new signing to bury low into the bottom corner.
Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann was lucky not to give away a penalty after bringing down Simon Davies as Fulham chased a winner.
With the clock winding down, Wolves looked to have done enough. But Berra’s dismissal presented Dembele with the opportunity to snatch victory.
And the Belgian didn’t disappoint, rifling in a free-kick to give Hughes men all three points.
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