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Match Report – Fulham 1, Cardiff City 0

Match Report – Fulham 1, Cardiff City 0

There is no way Cardiff City are among the worst three teams in Premier League football. Huddersfield and Fulham are already relegated, while Brighton were, in the main, abysmal in their horrible 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.

The Seagulls had failed to score in their previous seven league and cup matches and are without a win since March 9.

They had failed to score with each of their last 53 efforts on goal until German Pascall Gross equalised after 75 minutes.

Manager Neil Warnock’s warriors still live to fight another day, but they now need to beat both Crystal Palace at home and Manchester United at Old Trafford to have any chance.

There is no question Warnock doesn’t enjoy Craven Cottage – and that dislike will intensified during the Bluebirds’ catastrophic defeat.

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Around 2,500 Cardiff City fans travelled to London for a crucial match, but their beloved Bluebirds slumped to defeat.

Manager Warnock, has now taken 11 teams to Fulham during his career – a record that covers seven clubs – and he has never left with a win.

Josh Murphy was left out of the City squad due to his poor efforts during training through the week and Warnock lost patience with the talented winger.

Fulham boss Scott Parker said: “This was one of the hardest games since I’ve been in charge. We rode our luck a bit but deserved to win it.

“Babel’s goal was special. He has come up with a fantastic strike and won us the game.”

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City simply did not show enough attacking intent. They had eight shots on target to Fulham’s two, but seven of those came during the last 20 minutes.

Too little, too late. Cardiff had to have a go and gamble for a win, but they went down against a Fulham team who were already relegated.

“I got it wrong,” said Warnock. “The team selection was wrong and I should have changed it earlier.

“The players have tried hard, I can’t fault them.”

Neil Warnock has never won an away Premier League match in London in 16 attempts, drawing three and losing 13, and his team suffered a13th away Premier League defeat of the season.

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The only goal was scored by Dutch international Ryan Babel after substitute Cyrus Christie broke down the right side and passed inside.

Babel curled a powerful shot into the top left corner, beyond goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, to give manager Scott Parker’s the lead after 79 minutes.

There had been a nine minute delay during the first half after Denis Odoi was accidentally kicked in the head by teammate Maxime Le Marchand.

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After lengthy treatment, Odoi was carried off on a stretcher and replaced by Christie.

“Denis is ok,” said Parker. “He was out of it for a few seconds which was concerning, but he is fine and will be okay.”

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City finished on a high, but Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico, who looked fragile and vulnerable throughout, somehow managed to keep a clean sheet.

The Spanish goalkeeper made stops to deny substitute Danny Ward three times, while also saving efforts from Joe Bennett, Bobby Decordova-Reid and Sean Morrison.

City’s best chance came two minutes before the end as Junior Hoilett met the ball, sweeping it towards goal after Decordova-Reid’s initial effort was stopped.

His effort cannoned out off the underside of Fulham’s crossbar and bounced top safety.

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It was a day when City had to go for broke, but they seemed to be playing with the handbrake firmly on.

They failed to show that attacking hunger and drive until the final 20 minutes. That’s a real shame.

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