Fernandez debut fizzles as Chelsea held by Fulham to 0-0
Chelsea's Enzo Fernandez runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Friday, February 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON (AP) — Enzo Fernandez's debut for Chelsea fizzled out as Fulham earned a worthy 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge in the English Premier League on Friday.

Fernandez, the most expensive player in British football history, was largely kept subdued. Chelsea was left stranded in ninth and its indifferent form was extended to one win in six in the league.

Fulham proved it was not necessary to spend 315 million pounds ($380 million) in the January transfer window to sit in the upper reaches of the top-flight. Marco Silva's well-drilled team made the host look toothless at times at the end of a week in which it spent 106.5 million pounds to land World Cup winner Fernandez.

Chelsea hit the post on halftime. Hakim Ziyech, fresh from his failed move to Paris Saint-Germain on transfer deadline day, clipped a searching ball in behind Fulham for Kai Havertz to run onto, but the makeshift number 9 saw his lobbed effort drift over Bernd Leno and back off the post.

The second half continued in a vein in which Fulham more than held its own against the host's expensive assemble.

Fernandez had his moment 20 minutes from the end when he whipped a spectacular first-time effort shot beyond Leno’s dive and fractionally past the post. The crowd rallied, and Chelsea started to take control.

Substitute David Fofana came closest to winning it for Chelsea, going through one-on-one against Leno before slipping beyond the goalkeeper and seeing his effort cleared off the line by the covering Tim Ream.

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