Fulham win, Cardiff on the brink (video)
- Babel scores winner
- Third-straight win for Fulham
- Cardiff 3 points from safety, two games to go
Already-relegated Fulham won a third-straight Premier League game with a shutout as they beat Cardiff City 1-0 at Craven Cottage to push their opponents closer to the drop.
Ryan Babel smashed home an incredible strike to win it for Fulham who impressed throughout, while Cardiff sat back and then pummelled the Fulham goal late on but a combination of Sergio Rico making stops and poor finishing saw the Bluebirds lose.
After a third-straight win Fulham move on to 26 points, while Cardiff have 31 points and face Crystal Palace and Manchester United in their final two games of the season. Neil Warnock’s side will likely have to win both to stay up, and even then it may not be enough.
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There was an even start to the game as Sean Morrison went down in the box and appealed for a penalty kick after tussling with Mitrovic.
At the other end Mitrovic was then denied by Neil Etheridge who made a fine save across his goal to deny Fulham’s top goalscorer.
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A worrying moment then arrived as Denis Odoi was kicked in the face by his own teammate Maxime Le Marchand and appeared to be knocked out instantly. Odoi was down for almost 10 minutes receiving treatment before being carried off the pitch on a stretcher.
After that lengthy break in play Fulham were the better team as Ryan Sessegnon went close.
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Mitrovic spurned a glorious chance at the start of the second half as Tom Cariney picked him out, but the Serbian striker fired way over the bar. At the other end Cardiff started to push men forward as Leandro Bacuna slipped at a vital moment.
Late on Cardiff threw themselves at the ball as Joe Bennett denied Joe Bryan with a great last-ditch tackle. Mitrovic curled another effort just over as Fulham looked the more likely to score and then they did.
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Babel curled home a magnificent strike to make it 1-0, as his sensational strike from distance was his fourth goal in his last six games. But that strike sprung Cardiff into life as Sergio Rico saved on multiple occasions.
Bennett went close but Rico saved, then Hoilett hit the crossbar and Rico then denied Bennett, Morrison (twice) and Danny Ward who all should have scored.
Somehow Fulham held on for the win which pushed Cardiff closer to relegation.