Report and free match highlights as Wilfried Zaha adds to Jairo Riedewald’s opener to lift Crystal Palace up to fifth in the Premier League; Aboubakar Kamara sent off upon VAR review before Tom Cairney strikes stoppage-time consolation
Saturday 24 October 2020 17:22, UK
Wilfried Zaha created one goal and scored another as Crystal Palace eased to a 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
On Roy Hodgson’s return to his former club, Jairo Riedewald gave his side the lead when he took Zaha’s pass and finished inside Alphonse Areola’s near post after just eight minutes.
The hosts came closest to an equaliser when Aleksandar Mitrovic blazed his rebound over after Ademola Lookman’s strike hit the post midway through the opening period.
But Zaha put the contest to bed when he was on hand to slide home Michy Batshuayi’s cross (64) as Fulham’s wait for a first Premier League win of the season goes on. Their fourth defeat of the term was compounded when Aboubakar Kamara’s challenge on Ebere Eze was upgraded to a red card in the closing stages.
There was still time for Tom Cairney to strike a late consolation, but the result means Fulham remain bottom of the table with a solitary point from their opening six games, while Palace move up to fifth on 10 points ahead of the remaining fixtures this weekend.
Fulham: Areola (6), Aina (6), Adarabioyo (6), Ream (6), Robinson (7), Lemina (7), Zambo (6), Cairney (7), Loftus-Cheek (6), Lookman (7), Mitrovic (6).
Subs: Reid (6), Reed (n/a), Kamara (4).
Crystal Palace: Guaita (7), Clyne (7), Dann (8), Kouyate (8), Mitchell (7), Townsend (7), Milivojevic (7), Riedewald (8), Schlupp (7), Batshuayi (7), Zaha (9).
Subs: van Aanholt (6), Sakho (n/a), Eze (6).
Man of the match: Wilfried Zaha.
Fulham suffer another derby defeat
The hosts began brightly and saw plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges, but fell behind with Palace’s first meaningful foray into the opponent’s half as after Areola did well to initially save from Zaha, the Ivorian regained possession to play a cute reverse pass for Riedewald to score inside the near post.
Scott Parker, who came face to face with his former England manager, shuffled things at the back against Wolves earlier this month, and his side shook off the early setback to create openings for themselves. Lookman and Mitrovic were combining to good effect as the RB Leipzig loanee forced a smart save from Vicente Guaita at his near post.
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Premier League table | fixtures | results
Palace hadn’t heeded the warning, and were fortunate not to be pegged back when Antonee Robinson found Lookman again down the left and after his low drive cannoned back out off the post, Mitrovic was unable to readjust his feet quick enough to keep his rebound down from close range.
Nathaniel Clyne was handed a first start of his second spell at Crystal Palace in their game against Fulham. The right-back recently re-joined the club eight years after leaving for Southampton and he was in the side at Craven Cottage, with Martin Kelly and Max Meyer also coming in.
Mario Lemina was the only change in Fulham’s side, replacing Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
But in Zaha, Palace had a menacing presence on the counter-attack as he skipped beyond Ola Aina to set up Michy Batshuayi but the Belgian’s shot was well saved by the feet of Areola as Palace took their slender lead into the break.
Following the restart, Zaha came close to doubling the lead when he spun away from Tim Ream but his shot from the angle just flashed over. But Palace’s talisman was not to be denied as just after the hour-mark, he latched onto Batshuyai’s low cross to poke in his fifth goal of the season, showing courage as he collided into the post.
Parker immediately threw on Kamara in search of greater attacking impetus, but the Frenchman lasted barely 20 minutes as referee Graham Scott brandished a red card for his challenge on Eze having consulted his pitchside monitor.
Cairney showed there remains plenty of fighting spirit that Parker will look to build on as he collected Harrison Reed’s pass to rifle his long-range shot beyond Guaita to wipe out Palace’s clean sheet but it wasn’t enough to prevent the familiar sinking feeling for Fulham, and a 12th straight Premier League London derby defeat.
Man of the match – Wilfried Zaha
It has been a superb start of the season for Zaha, who now has five goals in his last six Premier League appearances, as many as he scored in his previous 41 – and more league goals than he managed all of last season (four).
Aina will have sleepless nights having been second best against him throughout the 90 minutes, and having been tasked by Hodgson to add much greater productivity this term, Zaha is really showing just why Palace have been so desperate to build their team around him.
Unsurprisingly, the 27-year-old had more shots (4) and produced more key passes (4) than any other Palace player. Indeed, Zaha has been directly involved in 65 goals for Crystal Palace in the Premier League (41 goals, 24 assists), over twice as many as the next best tally (32 for both James McArthur and Jason Puncheon).
- Fulham’s haul of just one point after their first six games is their worst-ever return at this stage of a top-flight campaign.
- Crystal Palace have won three consecutive league matches against Fulham for the first time since October 1930.
- Of managers to oversee at least 15 Premier League games, only Jan Siewert (80%) and Brian Laws (78%) have lost a higher percentage of their games than Fulham boss Scott Parker (75%. – 12 losses out of 16).
- Crystal Palace directed 10 shots on target in the game, the most they’ve managed in an away Premier League since August 2018, also against Fulham (10).
Fulham host West Brom on Monday, November 2, live on Sky Sports Box Office; kick-off is at 5.30pm. Crystal Palace travel to take on Wolves at Molineux next Friday; kick-off is at 8pm.
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