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Fulham FC Results

Premier League - Wednesday 27th February 2019, 7:45 PM
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Attendance: 27597
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

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McDonald (f)
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R Sessegnon
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Match Report

Southampton (2) 2-0 (0) Fulham

Premier League Match Day 28 1819 St Mary's Stadium

Wednesday 27th February 2019    KO: 19:45

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Match Stats Southampton Fulham
Goals (2) 2 0 (0)
Scorers Romeu 23
Ward-Prowse 40
Goal attempts 14 14
On target 4 4
Shooting Accuracy 29% 29%
Possession 41% 59%
Passes 383 568
Passes Success 77% 79%
Crosses 19 11
Crosses Success 21% 9%
Corners 7 4
Tackles 21 15
Tackles Success 67% 67%
Saves 4 2
Fouls 15 13
Offsides 2 2
Yellows 0 1
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
If their Premier League obituary had not already been written then this will likely be remembered as the night that a lifeless Fulham lost their fight for survival, as Southampton coasted to a rare routine victory.

Claudio Ranieri had been putting a brave face on, but must now accept that he needs another miracle, and fast, if Fulham are to somehow avoid an instant return to the Championship.

Their supporters are already resigned to their fate.

Fulham proved their own worst enemy, typified by another erratic display by Sergio Rico in goal; his poor clearance teed up Oriol Romeu to rifle home before allowing James Ward-Prowse to sweep in a second, meaning they have shipped in 63 goals this season.

Ranieri’s substitutions midway through the second half, by which point Saints had already put the game to bed, gave the travelling supporters the chance to vent their frustrations.

Fans unfurled a banner with the words “Risk free? Are you watching Tony Khan?” – a dig at comments made by Khan’s father, Shahid, the Fulham owner, in November, while Tom Cairney, the Fulham captain, gestured to supporters to quell their discontent as he was replaced by Luciano Vietto, one of many lavish signings.

The belated arrival of Ryan Sessegnon, their standout performer last season, prompted chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing”.

Of the team that swaggered their way to promotion at Wembley in May, only five started here and, given how Fulham’s aggressive recruitment drive has spectacularly backfired, the old adage that, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, springs to mind.

Fulham offered precious little, though Ryan Babel, a surprise January signing, came closest to giving the visitors an unlikely lifeline, rattling the bar late on.

Ralph Hasenhuttl described this game as a should-win, as opposed to a must-win, encounter against a Fulham side that is surely all but relegated.

A warm glow has surrounded the Southampton manager since his arrival in December, but there was no hiding from the fact that his team badly needed a fillip, with the same old problems that beset his predecessors – bluntness in attack and brittleness at the back – continuing to blight Saints of late.

The supercharged hosts settled quicker from the off, with Ryan Bertrand repeatedly making fine inroads down the left flank on his return to the starting lineup.

Fulham found themselves on the back foot once more on 15 minutes when Rico, the Fulham goalkeeper, played his team into trouble, making a mess of things when Håvard Nordtveit spooned an aimless ball into the box from Yan Valery high into the air.

As the ball came back down to earth, Rico failed to claim it, instead clambering around Nathan Austin, who eventually hooked the ball into an unguarded net, only for the referee, Anthony Taylor, to blow for an extremely soft foul by the Southampton striker.

Fulham were off the hook, but when Rico flapped at a Bertrand corner, this time the damage was lasting.

Rico rose above André-Frank Zambo Anguissa to clear the ball but his powder-puff punch landed at the feet of Romeu on the edge of the box, with the midfielder smacking home beyond a sea of Fulham bodies.

Fulham looked suspect in defence every time Saints advanced towards the opposition box, and Anguissa, who cost upwards of £22m last summer, was underwhelming in midfield.

With Quickly Southampton again broke away after stealing possession on halfway, allowing Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, the Saints skipper, to drive just wide from outside the 18-yard box.

Angus Gunn was relatively at ease in the Southampton goal, though he had to be alert to keep out a poked effort by Anguissa after a cute cutback by Aleksandar Mitrovic, who smartly eluded the offside trap.

Mitrovic himself then squandered a golden chance, blazing the ball over off his left shin after a clever pass by Calum Chambers.

Southampton doubled their lead four minutes before the interval after more kamikaze Fulham defending.

Rico’s hopeful pass out from the back kick-started a horrible chain of events for Fulham, as some head tennis in midfield ensued before Austin fed Redmond, who took aim.

But it was Rico’s error when parrying Redmond’s curled shot that ultimately proved fatal, with the goalkeeper spilling his effort, allowing James Ward-Prowse to bury the rebound.

Southampton, who face Manchester United and Tottenham next, are unlikely to have it this easy again for a while.

Southampton: Gunn, Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Valery, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Bertrand, Austin (Long 64), Redmond

Unused substitutes: McCarthy, Stephens, Targett, Elyounoussi, Armstrong, Gallagher

Romeu 23 (left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner following a corner.)
Ward-Prowse 40 (right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.)

Fulham: Rico, Odoi, Nordtveit, Ream, Bryan, Chambers, McDonald (R Sessegnon 70), Anguissa, Cairney (Vietto 69), Babel, Mitrovic

Unused substitutes: Fabri, Christie, Markovic, Cisse, Ayite

Booked: McDonald (62,f),

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Attendance: 27,597

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