At Selhurst Park, goals from Bobby de Cordova-Reid, Tim Ream, and Aleksandar Mitrovic propelled Fulham to victory over Crystal Palace, which had nine players on the field.
Dominant throughout, Marco Silva’s team benefited from Palace’s misbehavior in either half, ending their dreams of a fourth consecutive home victory.
Just three minutes after his team fell behind, Tyrick Mitchell was sent for a foul on Kenny Tete, and James Tomkins soon after.
The outcome supports the visitors’ improbable European push as they currently lie in eighth place, only two points off of the top six.
Palace struggled to establish themselves early on, but as the half-hour mark approached, they nearly took the lead.
Jordan Ayew was inside the area after Michael Olise’s deft play let him free, but his shot hit the bar and missed.
Moments later, Fulham made them pay as De Cordova-Reid headed the visitors into a deserving lead after Mitrovic capitalized on Joachim Andersen’s sluggish play to find his teammate with a precise cross.
Tete first reached a loose ball, but Mitchell caught him after he was sent off, further adding to the sorrow of the hosts.
A fast Palace comeback was put on hold 12 minutes after the break. Tomkins received a yellow card after seeming to elbow Mitrovic away from the ball, which led to the game’s second red card.
On minute 71, Ream promptly responded to Mitrovic’s knockdown from a corner to double Fulham’s lead.
Ten minutes before the end, Mitrovic made it three after referee Andy Madley had reviewed the VAR monitor for a possible handball against the Serb.
Palace gets penalized for losing cool
Undoubtedly, the two red cards were the turning points in this game. Just three minutes had passed after De Cordova-goal Reid’s when Mitchell challenged Tete, and Tomkins’ moment of madness made them scramble to contain the damage.
However, despite having 11 players on the field, they still fell short of winning or even avoiding a loss, which marked a poor return to Premier League play after the World Cup.
Patrick Vieira selected an offensive lineup, but they were soundly defeated because their intentions never materialized into a consistent performance.