Rebrov makes quiet start

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The Independent Online

There used to be a time when testimonials ended 4-4, with the beneficiary scoring at both ends in a joyful romp. Not any more, not when Fulham's league campaign kicks off in nine days and Tottenham's in 16 and not when both teams have to shake off years of indifferent form and underachievement. The result was this, a sterile game with the visitors lucky to escape a repeat of their Worthington Cup defeat here last season, as Kevin Betsy and Luis Boa Morte hit the post and crossbar.

There used to be a time when testimonials ended 4-4, with the beneficiary scoring at both ends in a joyful romp. Not any more, not when Fulham's league campaign kicks off in nine days and Tottenham's in 16 and not when both teams have to shake off years of indifferent form and underachievement. The result was this, a sterile game with the visitors lucky to escape a repeat of their Worthington Cup defeat here last season, as Kevin Betsy and Luis Boa Morte hit the post and crossbar.

As far as former French internationals in London go, now that Spurs are sans Ginola, Fulham have cornered the market, in the shape of Jean Tigana.

However, the new Fulham manager has been less vocal than his compatriot. With a disregard for English football rituals, he even opted out of penning any notes in the programme marking Simon Morgan's 10 years at Craven Cottage.

Tottenham may be minus their most creative player in Ginola, but can boast the arrival of Ben Thatcher and Neil Sullivan to partner their former Dons team-mate Chris Perry, but the jewel in the crown is their Ukrainian international Serhiy Rebrov. However, the £11m striker, although he was on the pitch, was notable by his absence in any other respect.

The presence at half-time of the former Fulham manager Kevin Keegan was a reminder of how the supposedly inevitable promotion to the Premiership ground to a halt last season. Spurs suffered similar under-achievement, but they failed to make inroads on Fulham's defence despite the presence of a well-rested Darren Anderton and newly-fit Les Ferdinand.

It was the less celebrated Betsy who should have scored after an hour, yet the Fulham forward contrived to hit the bar from four yards out.

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