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Fulham Cardiff- Match Report Prem MD34

last updated Saturday 27th April 2019, 11:14 PM
Fulham win 2-0 against Everton


Match Report

Fulham (0) 1-0 (0) Cardiff City

Premier League Match Day 36 at Craven Cottage

Saturday 27th April 2019     KO: 15:00

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)



Fulham striker Ryan Babel
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If relegation does come Cardiff's way they will join fellow Championship-bound side Fulham in wondering what might have been when they look back on this season.

For Fulham, this was their third win and clean sheet on the bounce since their demotion was confirmed, a morale-boosting run that has come all too late to save them.

It was sealed with a rare moment of Premier League quality from Ryan Babel that left Cardiff boss Neil Warnock thinking poignantly back to the tragic January plane crash that claimed the life of Emiliano Sala days after he had signed for the Welsh side.

Dutch winger Babel's late winner, that edged Cardiff closer to the drop, was totally out of keeping with what had gone before.

A brilliantly-taken first-time shot from 25 yards whipped into the top corner earned managerial apprentice Scott Parker, taking charge of just his eighth game, another notable scalp, this time managerial master Warnock who was overseeing his 1455th.

The Cardiff manager said: 'It is probably only Babel on the pitch who could have scored it. 'Maybe Victor Camarasa on a good day. It was a great finish. That's the Premier League for you.

Match Stats Fulham Cardiff
Goals (0) 1 0 (0)
Scorers Babel 79
 ,
Goal attempts 8 13
On target 2 8
Shooting Accuracy 25% 62%
Possession 73% 27%
Passes 624 222
Passes Success 87% 66%
Crosses 21 18
Crosses Success 14% 28%
Corners 11 3
Tackles 23 28
Tackles Success 48% 64%
Saves 8 1
Fouls 10 8
Offsides 1 3
Yellows 0 0
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
'You get what you pay for. It just brings it home to me how disappointing [it was] with the Emiliano tragedy. I felt he could score 10 goals between Christmas and the end of the season.

So it is blow after blow really the things we have had to put up with since Christmas.'

The Sala tragedy puts everything else in perspective, but in football terms Babel's 79th minute strike was just another body blow for Cardiff and Warnock.

His face like thunder seconds after the Dutchman's effort told its own story, and his mood would not have been helped by the 'you're going down with the Fulham' chants from the home fans.

'If we go down we are back here at the Cottage next season,' Warnock said. 'Probably first game of next season. I can't get away from it. Those people who love me here.'

Fulham's regret is that their rally has come too late. Caretaker boss Scott Parker, handed the reins in February, was already thinking 'what if' after the successive wins over Everton and Bournemouth. A third would only have added to that.

Babel's goal could prove to be a brilliant parting gift as he has already hinted he could leave when his short-term deal runs out at the end of the season following relegation.

Parker said: 'It was a moment of brilliance and sheer class from Ryan. With some of the chances we missed I thought maybe today was not going to be our day but Ryan has come up with a wonder-strike which deserved to be the match-winner.'

Babel's goal certainly didn't have much competition when it came to moments of quality at Craven Cottage, which perhaps suggested why there is a very real chance this will be a second tier rivalry next season.

The biggest talking point in the first half was a sickening incident involving Fulham defender Denis Odoi. Maxime Le Marchand accidentally caught Odoi in the face as he attempted to clear the ball while the latter was in the process of stooping to head it back to his goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

After a brief though still hugely concerning period while Odoi was out cold on the ground the right-back came round but needed almost 10 minutes of treatment before he was carried off on a stretcher in a neck brace and with an oxygen mask. Parker said: 'He is on the mend and all good. He stayed and watched the second half.'

Top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic blew a great chance to fire Fulham ahead early in the second half, blazing well over from Tom Cairney's cross.

Cairney, back in the side after becoming a father for the first time last weekend, then almost deceived former Fulham keeper Neil Etheridge with a cross that got caught in the Storm Hannah winds that whipped into Craven Cottage off the Thames.

Fulham's Tim Ream denied the poised Leandro Bacuna a tap-in with crucial touch that redirected Nathaniel Mendez-Laing's cross.

Warnock chucked on strikers Danny Ward and Rhys Healey and finally saw his side have their first shot on target from Mendez-Laing, in the 73rd minute, albeit one that was straight at Sergio Rico.

However the visitors were stunned by Babel's bolt from the blue after Cyrus Christie's run deep into Cardiff territory and the Welsh side's rally was repelled by the excellent Sergio Rico in the Fulham goal.

He tipped over Ward's header and frustrated Joe Bennett and Sean Morrison too while a third striker sub Bobby Decordova-Reid also hit the bar in a frantic finish.

Fulham caretaker boss Scott Parker: "Ryan Babel's goal was special. He has come up with a fantastic strike and won us the game.

"Also it was a massive positive for goalkeeper Sergio Rico, he stood up and so did the back four.

"It has been a tough year, we have conceded a lot of goals but three clean sheets is massive."

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock: "I am disappointed but could not have asked anymore of them. We couldn't have scored if we carried on till Christmas.

"The luck has been against us. On reflection my team selection was wrong, but you can't fault the lads. Who is to stay we are not still in the fight?

"You see the chances, we should score some of those chances. You pay for your finishers in this league, we have never been blessed with that, Emiliano Sala would have been that and that was a big blow."

Some Match Stats
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has never won an away Premier League match in London in 16 attempts (W0 D3 L13).

Fulham have won three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since March 2012.

This was Cardiff City's 13th away Premier League defeat of the season - only Huddersfield (14) and Fulham (15) have lost more.

Fulham have taken nine points from their past three Premier League games - as many as in their previous 20 games combined (W2 D3 L15).

Cardiff had eight shots on target in this match - with all seven coming in the 73rd minute or later.

Fulham's Ryan Babel scored his 17th Premier League goal and his first from outside the box.

What's next?
Fulham travel to north face Wolves at Molineux on Saturday, 4 May in a 15.00 afternoon kick off. Cardiff are back in the capital for a match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park later in the day with a 17:30 BST kick-off.

Fulham: Rico, Odoi (Christie 28), Le Marchand, Ream, Bryan, Chambers, Anguissa, R Sessegnon (Mawson 85), Cairney, Babel (Ayite 89), Mitrovic

Unused substitutes: Fabri, Kebano, Seri, Elliott

Goals:
Ryan Babel 79 (right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Cyrus Christie.)

Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Morrison, Manga, Bennett, Gunnarsson (De Cordova-Reid 87), Bacuna, Hoilett, Camarasa (Healey 72), Mendez-Laing, Niasse (Ward 61)

Unused substitutes: B Murphy, Richards, Cunningham, Harris

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)

Attendance: 23,822






























Source Adrian Kajumba at Mail on Sunday/BBC Sports
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