EPL: Cardiff City on brink of relegation after Fulham defeat

Ryan Babel struck a potentially deadly blow to Cardiff City’s Premier League survival chances with a stunning 25-yard strike that secured relegated Fulham a deserved 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.

Sunday's (NZ time) defeat left Cardiff four points adrift of Brighton and Hove Albion with two games left and looking likely to join Fulham in the Championship next season.

Fulham equalled their own Premier League record of three successive wins as Dutchman Babel struck a fierce first-time shot 11 minutes from time to register his sixth goal of the season.

But Fulham had to withstand a ferocious Cardiff rearguard action in the final minutes, with Bobby Reid hitting the bar and keeper Sergio Rico pulling off a series of outstanding saves.

The game was delayed for seven minutes in the first half after Fulham's Denis Odoi was accidentally kicked in the face by teammate Maxine Le Marchand.

The defender was knocked out cold and had to be revived with oxygen before being carried off to a standing ovation.

After a lacklustre first half, Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic blazed a wonderful chance just over from 12 yards as Fulham looked to capitalise on their recent good form under caretaker manager Scott Parker.

Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur still have work to do to secure a top-four after they suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham.   

Michail Antonio scored the only goal on 67 minutes to leave Spurs still third but just three points ahead of Chelsea and four ahead of Arsenal, both of whom play on Monday, while Manchester City can go back above Liverpool at the top if they win at Burnley.

West Ham celebrate their goal against Tottenham.
West Ham celebrate their goal against Tottenham. Photo credit: Reuters

Victory for Spurs would have all but sealed their place in the top four, but West Ham made them pay for missed opportunities, with Antonio producing a moment of real skill before rifling the ball home.   

The goal made West Ham the first side to win in Tottenham's new stadium.   

"It is a fight, it is a race, with two games to play," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said.   

The visitors could also have taken the lead themselves in the first half, but when Antonio got his opportunity in the second, he took it with aplomb.   

Antonio and Issa Diop both went close to a second for West Ham while the closest

Tottenham came was when substitute Vincent Janssen saw a header cleared off the line by Fabian Balbuena. 

Meanwhile, Southampton secured themselves Premier League football for another season after they drew 3-3 with Bournemouth.   

Shane Long, James Ward-Prowse and Matt Targett scored the goals to earn a point for Southampton.   

Brighton boosted their chances of staying in the top flight after battling to a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United.   

Ayoze Perez put Newcastle in front in the 18th minute with a fine finish, but the home side got their reward after 75 minutes when Pascal Gross headed in their first goal in eight matches in all competitions to equalise.   

Diogo Joto scored the winner as Wolves pinched a 2-1 victory at Watford, while Palace drew 0-0 with Everton in the day's other match.   

Reuters