Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace: The Eagles’ clinical finishing the difference in London derby
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Palace took the lead in the opening minutes of the game, courtesy of Jairo Riedewald's first league goal for the Eagles. In the second half, Wilfried Zaha scored his fifth league goal of the season to hand Palace all three points at a wet and windy Craven Cottage

Story of the match

First half

After a flurry of Fulham chances, Roy Hodgson's side took the early lead in the match. Wilfried Zaha twist and turned Ola Aina, before unleashing a venomous shot at goal, which was well saved by Alphonse Areola.

The rebound returned to Tyrick Mitchell, who quickly moved the ball back to Zaha. The Ivorian played a delightful pass, which sliced through the Cottagers' defence, to find the onrushing Jairo Riedewald. The Dutch midfielder gently lifted the ball over Areola, scoring his first league goal for the club, and giving the visitors the early lead on the 8th minute.

Ademola Lookman, who has been one of Fulham's brightest sparks in their gloomy start to the new Premier League season, drifted inside the box, danced past Nathaniel Clyne, before cracking his shot against the post. The ball fell to Aleksandar Mitrović, 5-yards out from goal, begging to be tapped home, but the Serbian international somehow managed to hit his shot over the bar.

Second half

Scott Parker's side had to come out ready to fight, if they were to salvage anything from this game, desperate to pick up sought after points in their bout for Premier League survival. 

However, it was Palace who got off to the better start. Zaha won the ball in the centre of the pitch, lifted the ball over Tim Ream, before setting his sights on goal. Zaha drove inside the area, finding himself one-on-one with Areola, before narrowly hammering his effort across the face of goal. 

Palace would go on to capatalise on Fulham's growing confidence to push forward. Townsend slipped Michy Batshuyai in-between Ream and Tosin Adarabioyo on the right-hand side. The Belgian international then sent a low cross along the face of goal, Zaha gambled at the back-post to score his fifth goal of the season and put Palace into cruise control. 

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The game fizzled out, with Palace having the majority of the ball, looking to shut off any potential Fulham resurgence. The afternoon went from bad to worse for Scott Parker's side, when substitute Aboubakar Kamara, was sent off by referee Graham Scott, for a horrendous foul on Eberechi Eze

A consolation did arrive for Fulham, after a moment of brilliance from Tom Cairney, who struck a sweet strike into the top corner from 25-yards out to give Fulham a glimmer of hope. However, it would come to late and Palace held on to claim all three points. 

Takeaways

Zaha just can't stop scoring! 

Zaha's fine form this season has seen the Palace's academy graduate score five in his last six games, that's as many as he has scored in his last 41 appearances for the club. 

Zaha has been a talismanic figure for Palace in recent season and this year he has taken the weight of the Eagles' goal scoring pressure onto his shoulders. Leading by example, Zaha set up Riedewald for the opening goal, before capping off a fine performance by also scoring his own, to seal a well deserved victory for Hodgson's side.

Fulham are lacking the cutting edge in fight for survival

After the quick turn around from the Play-off final victory over Brentford, Fulham were always going to be fighting an uphill battle to stay in the Premier League at the first time of asking. However, the form of main-man, Aleksandar Mitrović, should be a cause for concern for Scott Parker. 

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Mitrović missed a glorious opportunity at 1-0 to create a pathway for The Cottagers to find a way back into game, but he snatched at the chance, blazing the ball over the net from five yards out. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Lookman were promising for Fulham, but they also found it hard to break down the stubborn Palace defence.

Palace move up to fifth in the Premier League, while Fulham stay rooted to the foot of the table.

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