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Nine-man Crystal Palace comprehensively beaten by Fulham

Nine-man Crystal Palace comprehensively beaten by Fulham

Tyrick Mitchell and James Tomkins both saw red as nine-man Crystal Palace suffered a comprehensive 3-0 Premier League Boxing Day defeat to Fulham at Selhurst Park.

Only Bobby Decordova-Reid‘s header separated the two sides at half time, by which point Mitchell had been given his marching orders, and the visitors struck again through Tim Ream and Aleksandar Mitrovic following Tomkins’s second yellow card for an elbow on the latter.

Neither side managed to fashion many gilt-edged chances in the early exchanges, with Fulham largely dominating possession, but the woodwork was hit to the frustration of the home crowd in the 26th minute.

The lively Michael Olise drove forward through the middle before laying off Jordan Ayew, whose effort flashed over Bernd Leno onto the crossbar, and the Ghanaian would rue that missed chance not long after.

With 31 minutes gone, a misplaced pass from Joachim Andersen allowed Fulham to ignite an attack down the right with Mitrovic, who fired in an inch-perfect cross for Decordova-Reid to head home into the far corner.

Many would have expected Reid to provide the ball for Mitrovic to break the deadlock, but the Serbian’s floated cross was a thing of beauty, and Palace’s task became monumentally more difficult when Tyrick Mitchell was given a straight red card in the 34th minute for a high tackle on Kenny Tete.

The left-back cut a devastated figure as he left the pitch, but he would soon be joined on the naughty step by Tomkins, who raised his elbow to prevent Mitrovic from running through on goal and received a second yellow card to bring the hosts down to nine men.

James Tomkins is sent off for Crystal Palace against Fulham on December 26, 2022© Reuters

The Cottagers almost made their two-man advantage count straight away, as Andreas Pereira struck the woodwork from a tight angle in the 61st minute before taking out his frustration on the advertising boards – unaware that a steward was sat right behind it, but the duo made up quickly.

Searching for the second goal to kill the game off, Fulham talisman Mitrovic was thwarted by a smart save from Vicente Guaita down to his right a few minutes later, and the Spaniard also had to keep out Issa Diop in the 67th minute.

Fulham’s insurance goal would soon arrive through the unlikeliest of sources, as Pereira’s deep corner found Mitrovic, who headed the ball down for Ream to lash home his first Premier League goal into the roof of the net.

Mitrovic appeared to head the ball onto his hand, but Andy Madley saw no reason to disallow the goal after a quick look at the monitor, and the Serbia international would hit the double-figure mark for the season in the 80th minute.

Some neat build-up play on the right from Fulham ended with Tete floating a ball to the back stick for Willian, whose shot into the ground rose kindly for Mitrovic to send a deft header into the bottom corner.

Marco Silva‘s side have now leapfrogged their opponents into the top half before meeting Southampton this weekend, while Palace take on Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve.

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