Cardiff City claimed their first Premier League win of the season as they saw off Fulham 4-2 to pile the pressure on Slavisa Jokanovic.
In an entertaining encounter at Cardiff City Stadium, Callum Paterson’s scuffed finish in the 65th minute to make it 3-2 was key before Kadeem Harris added gloss late on.
Neil Warnock’s side had to overturn an early deficit – Fulham taking the lead through Andre Schurrle’s 11th-minute stunner, but the Cottagers’ defensive deficiencies enabled Josh Murphy and Bobby Reid to score in quick succession.
Ryan Sessegnon’s first Premier League goal drew Fulham level in the 34th minute, but Paterson deservedly restored Cardiff’s advantage, with Neil Etheridge’s fine save setting the stage for Harris to wrap up the points.
Schurrle’s opener was exquisite, the winger wonderfully picking out the top-right corner from 25 yards out, but Fulham’s terrible defence ensured their lead was short lived.
Murphy had gone close early on, and made no mistake at the second time of asking as he cut in from the left to finish across Marcus Bettinelli.
Cardiff were presented with another gift five minutes later – Bettinelli unable to prevent Reid from slotting home after Tim Ream had misjudged a loose ball.
Fulham rallied, though, and Sessegnon had them level when he latched onto Aleksandar Mitrovic’s pass to tuck in his fifth goal in as many games against Cardiff.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 20, 2018
Both sides exchanged chances after the restart, Harry Arter’s effort whistling over before Sessegnon struck straight at Etheridge.
Bettinelli was not so lucky at the other end however, with Fulham’s goalkeeper caught flat footed by Paterson’s mishit shot as it trickled into the corner.
Etheridge would prove the hero when he dived low to his left to keep out Alfie Mawson’s header – that save paying further dividends when Harris tucked in a fourth three minutes from time.
What does it mean: Cardiff’s first win worth the wait
Cardiff had scored just four Premier League goals in total prior to Saturday’s clash, and the fact that they have now doubled that tally must cause real concern for Jokanovic, whose side now sit in the bottom three.
Warnock, however, will undoubtedly feel his side were owed a big win after some of their resilient displays this term.
Sessegnon off the mark
Fulham’s teenage sensation lit up the Championship last term, but has struggled to fully adapt to life in the top flight.
However, after hitting the crossbar from close-range in Fulham’s last away game against Everton, the 18-year-old at least now has a Premier League goal under his belt.
Cottagers’ leaky defence showing no signs of recovery
Jokanovic encourages attacking football, but if he does not fix Fulham’s defensive issues, the Cottagers will be in the mire come the end of the season regardless of their quality up top.
Key Opta Stats
73 – Fulham’s André Schürrle has scored 73% of his Premier League goals in away games (11 of 15). Adventure.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 20, 2018
– Cardiff won their first Premier League game since April 2014 (v Southampton), ending a run of 12 matches without a victory.
– Fulham have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 23 Premier League away games; the longest such run since QPR endured a 23-game streak between October 2011 and November 2012.
– Cardiff scored four or more goals in a top-flight game for the first time since September 1961 vs Chelsea (5-2).
– Fulham’s Sessegnon is the first player born in or after the year 2000 to score a Premier League goal. He is also Fulham’s youngest ever goalscorer in the Premier League at 18 years and 154 days.
Cardiff face the unenviable prospect of facing title hopefuls Liverpool at Anfield, while Fulham welcome Bournemouth to Craven Cottage, with the pressure building on Jokanovic.
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