Salomon Rondon grabbed the lone goal of the game as West Bromwich Albion opened up the season with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Venezuelan striker led the team in scoring last season, netting nine times in his first season with the club after joining the Baggies from Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg last summer. At Selhurst Park against Palace, it was Rondon’s header in the 74th minute that proved to be the winner. Rondon was praised by captain Darren Fletcher after the win.
“Salo was fantastic,” Fletcher told the club’s official website.
“He ran the line, held the ball up and battled really well against their two centre-backs.
“He looks fit and strong and is definitely in better condition than he was last season which is good to see.
“I think Salomon would tell you that too.
“I thought he was a great player for us last season but this season he looks even better.
“He came from the Russian league and didn’t speak the language but he is now mixing with the squad a lot more and he’s a lot more confident.”
Rondon was happy to get off to a good start and said after the match that he hopes the form can carry over to Venezuela’s South America World Cup qualifiers in early September.
“I’m happy because of the goal and the work of the team,” Rondon said. “It’s a pretty tough league, very competitive, demanding.
“We’ve started off on the right foot, let’s hope it carries on like this.
“With my national team we’ve got qualifiers against Colombia [away] in Barranquilla and then Argentina in Venezuela.
“Let’s hope we carry on like we left off at the Copa America.”