Crystal Palace 2 Fulham 0 – Milivojevic and Schlupp net in comfortable derby win

BY MATT WOOSNAM
A goal in either half saw Crystal Palace push Fulham deeper into the relegation mire with a comfortable victory at Selhurst Park.

Palace went ahead from the penalty spot when Cyrus Christie inexplicably handled in the area from a deep cross with Christian Benteke nearby, and Milivojevic fired past Sergio Rico.

10 minutes in Aleksander Mitrovic ought to have capitalised on poor Palace defending but headed a gilt-edged change wide of Vicente Guaita’s goal.

Andros Townsend flashed a cross in deep, which evaded everyone, only to drift comfortably wide.

Jordan Ayew chested down a high ball into the area but could only wastefully lash his shot well over the crossbar.

The next action would be the penalty. Christie had no need to handle, but gave Michael Oliver a simple decision to make. Rico guessed the right way but Milivojevic’s penalty was too good.

A superb Palace move saw James Tomkins float an inch-perfect ball to Christian Benteke who flicked it down to Townsend, before the winter crossed to the back post where Benteke attempted a spectacular bicycle kick which smashed against the bar and over.

The visitors exerted ample pressure in the early stages of the second half but were wasteful with their deep crosses failing to reach a white shirt. The closest they came was when Tom Cairney looped a shot comfortably over.

Jordan Ayew took on his man and lashed an effort towards the top corner but Rico was able to tip it over.

Fulham seldom tested Guaita, with the Spanish goalkeeper not having a single shot to save in the second half, as the Eagles wasted a golden opportunity with Mamadou Sakho heading wide from close range.

Late on, Michy Batshuayi replaced the excellent Ayew, and with his first few touches worked some space with great skill and fired at goal. He was unfortunate not to score himself but Jeffrey Schlupp was on hand to tuck home the rebound.

Calum Chambers struck a fierce effort wide late on from distance but Fulham were toothless.

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