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Fulham lose at the Palace - Match Report Prem MD25

last updated Saturday 02nd February 2019, 11:10 PM

Match Report

Crystal Palace (1) 2-0 (0) Fulham

Premier League Match Day 25 1819 Selhurst Park

Saturday 2nd February 2019,    KO: 15:00

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Match Stats Crystal Palace Fulham
Goals (1) 2 0 (0)
Scorers Milivojevic pen 25
Schlupp 87
Goal attempts 17 8
On target 6 0
Shooting Accuracy 35% 0%
Possession 37% 63%
Passes 346 606
Passes Success 76% 86%
Crosses 27 21
Crosses Success 26% 29%
Corners 11 1
Tackles 25 16
Tackles Success 36% 75%
Saves 0 4
Fouls 9 12
Offsides 1 1
Yellows 2 3
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports

Time is running out for Fulham.

With the weeks flying by and defeats piling up, their hopes of conjuring a miraculous escape are fading and for all that Claudio Ranieri tried to keep the mood light after witnessing another lamentable effort on the road from his naive side, he must have seen signs of a group who have already started to accept their fate.

It was the lack of fight that was most troubling once a dismal error from Cyrus Christie had sent Crystal Palace on their way to a crucial win in the battle to stay in the Premier League.

Buoyed by a lively cameo from Michy Batshuayi, Palace fully merited a victory that eased relegation pressure and left Ranieri’s side looking forlorn in 19th place, seven points behind fourth-bottom Burnley and with the walls closing in as 13 games remain.

Any positivity Fulham generated after that thrilling comeback against Brighton & Hove Albion last Tuesday is gone.

They lacked the nous to deal with the tension and a first away win of the season was never going to happen, even though Ranieri rued the moment when Aleksandar Mitrovic wasted a glorious opportunity to give Fulham an early lead.

“If we score a goal, I think it could change the match,” Fulham’s manager said.

“When you take a chance, maybe everybody is more combined and strong.” It was a surprise to see a striker of Mitrovic’s aerial prowess fluff his lines when Joe Bryan’s cross found him unmarked in the six-yard box.

Normally so deadly in the air, he wore the look of a man who knew he could not rely on his team-mates in defence to lessen the effect of his profligacy.

The striker has seen enough to know that mistakes are never far away and it was not long before the division’s worst backline presented their hosts with a gift. There was no hint of danger when James McArthur hit a diagonal pass into Fulham’s area in the 25th minute.

Yet the presence of Christian Benteke unsettled Christie, who threw out an arm in a doomed attempted to clear.

Michael Oliver, the referee, was almost apologetic as he penalised the wing-back, giving Luka Milivojevic the chance to beat Sergio Rico from the spot. Ranieri condemned “a stupid foul” and even Roy Hodgson, Palace’s manager, struggled to make sense of Christie’s thinking.

“We got a piece of good fortune,” Hodgson said.

“I didn’t expect Christie to handle it and give us that penalty.

Only he would be able to tell us how it came about.” It was one-way traffic after Milivojevic had struck a powerful penalty past Rico, who was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers.

Belief soared through Palace after a nervy start and Benteke, who looked determined to make up for lost time after being handed his first start since 1 September, was unfortunate to see an overhead kick crash against the bar. Perhaps the arrival of another Belgian forward on deadline day has stirred Benteke after a difficult campaign.

Palace have more competition in attack after signing Batshuayi and Hodgson was grateful to have the Chelsea loanee in reserve once Benteke had tired, especially as Wilfried Zaha was suspended. On came Batshuayi, turning on the edge of the area and firing a shot that Rico palmed to Jeffrey Schlupp to gobble up from the rebound.

“It was an incredible impact,” Hodgson said.

“He has scored in almost every debut he’s had and he almost kept that record going.” Ranieri, whose side failed to muster a single shot on target, tried to finish on a defiant note.

“We have to continue to fight,” he said.

“We lost a battle but not the war.

I am always positive.

I want the maximum in every training session.

I want the maximum in every match.”

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt, Townsend, McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp (Sako 90), Ayew (Batshuayi 82), Benteke (Meyer 72)

Unused substitutes: Hennessey, Dann, Kelly, Riedewald

Milivojevic pen 25 (converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top right corner. Penalty conceded by Cyrus Christie (Fulham) with a hand ball in the penalty area.)
Schlupp 87 (right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.)
Booked: Ayew (06,arg), Wan-Bissaka (76,f)

Fulham: Rico, Odoi, Le Marchand, Ream (Vietto 45), Christie (Fosu-Mensah 62), Chambers, Seri, Bryan, Cairney, Mitrovic, Babel (Ayite 88)

Unused substitutes: Fabri, R Sessegnon, Kebano, Cisse

Booked: Le Marchand (27,f), Odoi (45,f), Babel (59,f)

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Attendance: 25,355

Source Paul Wilson at The Guardian
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