Goals from Bobby de Cordova-Reid, Tim Ream and Aleksandar Mitrovic inspired Fulham to victory over nine-man Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Dominating throughout, Marco Silva’s side were helped by Palace’s indiscipline in both halves which ended their hopes of a fourth straight home win.
Tyrick Mitchell was red-carded for a foul on Kenny Tete just three minutes after his side fell behind, and James Tomkins followed him before the hour mark.
The result bolsters the visitors’ unlikely European push, who sit eighth, just two points off the top six.
As half an hour approached, Palace, having struggled to win early, almost took the lead.
Clever play from Michael Olise freed Jordan Ayew inside the box, but he saw his effort crash into the bar.
Fulham made them pay moments later when De Cordova-Reid steered the visitors to a deserved lead as Mitrovic pounced on Joachim Andersen’s soft play before finding his team-mate with an accurate cross.
The hosts’ misery was further compounded when Mitchell was sent off after Tete reached a loose ball first and was caught by the palace man.
Any chance of Palace’s quick resurgence was quashed 12 minutes after the break. Tomkins, on a booking, appeared to nudge Mitrovic which resulted in a second red card of the game.
Ream then reacted quickly to Mitrovic’s knockdown from a corner to double Fulham’s lead in the 71st minute.
Referee Andy Madley checked the VAR monitor for a potential handball against the Serb, sticking to his original decision, before Mitrovic did so three 10 minutes from time.
Palace punished after losing their cool
The two red cards were undoubtedly the moments that this game turned on. Mitchell’s challenge on Tete came just three minutes after De Cordova-Reid’s opener, and Tomkins’ moment of madness forced them into damage control.
But even with 11 men they didn’t do enough to win the game or even avoid defeat, marking a disappointing return to the Premier League after the World Cup.
Patrick Vieira named an attacking formation but that intention never translated into a consistent performance as they were roundly beaten.
Festive cheers as Fulham advance
Fears of a third successive relegation to the Championship are fading at a rapid pace for Fulham, and they looked good at home again at this level.
He is now on 22 points from 16 games under Silva this season, just six fewer than they got in their entire last Premier League campaign two years ago.
The way they dominated the ball and made possession count was hugely impressive, and with Mitrovic scoring his 10th goal of the season they have a striker in the kind of form to make them dream of a European place, even more than that. .
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