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Fulham draw 0-0 with Aston Villa

(AP Photo/Akira Suemori)


LONDON (AP) - Aston Villa and Fulham's new managers watched their teams play out a 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage on Saturday in a frustrating start to the Premier League season.

Fulham, under Dutchman Martin Jol, had most of the first-half possession but both sides struggled to create chances. Fulham should have been ahead in the 10th minute when Danny Murphy poked a ball through for the unmarked John Arne Riise, who fired over with the goal at his mercy on his Premier League debut for his new club.

Villa manager Alex McLeish saw striker Emile Heskey volley straight at goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer before the same player failed to make the most of a headed opportunity from Charles N'Zogbia's cross.

Chances fell to Fulham striker Bobby Zamora after the break, while Marc Albrighton nearly snatched a winner for Villa with a shot into the side netting.

For Jol, who took over after Mark Hughes' departure, it was a first taste of the Premier League since he was fired by Tottenham in October 2007. He described it as a "great feeling" - but he was far from happy with his team's performance.

"We had three good chances but, for a home match, I would like to have more control, more initiative and we have to score at first," he said. "So, 0-0 at home, you can't say that is a very good result."

McLeish, meanwhile, has the difficult task of winning over the Villa fans following his defection from city rivals Birmingham in the summer. He was grateful to new signing Shay Given, who made several good saves to help the visitors keep a clean sheet.

"The bottom line is, when there was all the furor, I always said it's about results," McLeish said. "Anyone coming here, I think will find it hard. Fulham have taken some massive scalps at Craven Cottage over the years."

Updated August 13, 2011

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