Aleksandar Mitrovic went from hero to villain as he scored Fulham’s second but then contrived to give away the penalty that handed Brighton a point at the Amex Stadium.
The striker’s fourth goal in four Premier League games had put the Cottagers in control on the South Coast, but a late double from Glenn Murray, the second a penalty given against the Serbian for a needless handball, ensured the spoils were shared. It sees both sides move on to four points from their opening four games ahead of the international break.
How it was left to Fulham to break the deadlock only Brighton will know. The hosts were afforded ample opportunity to breach the Fulham defence, even from the opening minute, when only a loose touch from Knockaert denied the Frenchman a sight of goal.
Summer signing Andre Schurrle show shis delight at opening the scoring for Fulham
Aleksandar Mitrovic takes flight after doubling the Craven Cottage club's lead
That brought with it the first corner, and the indication that this was an area the hosts felt they could take advantage of – the sight of 5ft 10in Denis Odoi at centre back giving the likes of Glenn Murray all the encouragement needed.
They threatened, showcasing the routines worked on in training - spinning away from markers, peeling away to the back post - but the clear opening failed to present itself.
Then, they got one, the most obvious opening there is. The foul for the penalty was clear enough, Luciano Vietti catching Murray from behind, but it was the lead up that had Fulham and their fans seething.
Knockaert’s throughball down the right wing was meant for Murray, but with the striker clearly offside the linesman stopped, ready to raise his flag, as did everyone else – including Murray. The only player who didn’t was Knockaert, who ran on to his own pass and subsequently fed it back to the striker, before he was fouled.
Schurrle led the protests, but they were to fall on deaf ears. In the end it was of little consequence as Pascal Gross, opting for the same stuttered run up that had seen him beat David de Gea in Brighton’s last home game, failed to beat Bettinelli as the keeper got down low to palm the effort round his right-hand post.
Even from the resulting corner there was still no joy, as Murray rose highest only to see his glancing effort fall wide.
And so it was left to the visitors to show the hosts how it was done, and that they did with no little style.
Mitrovic had already fired a shot across the bows, his header from Schurrle’s right-wing cross really ought to have tested Mathew Ryan instead of clearing the bar.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s men did get one more chance before the break, and this time they took it. Jean Michael Seri looks to be one of the more astute signings outside of the top six in the Premier League this season, and his lofted ball through