Fulham 1-2 Cardiff: Match Report
Fulham 1-2 Cardiff: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Mutch to ponder for under-fire Jol
Cardiff celebrated a first win away in the top flight since their ascension to the Barclays Premier League with a last-gasp 2-1 defeat of Fulham to pile more pressure on Martin Jol.
Cries of "Jol out" were heard loud and clear after substitute Jordon Mutch inflicted defeat on the Cottagers with a curling goal after Steven Caulker's opener had been cancelled out by Bryan Ruiz, who was sent on shortly before half-time.
West Brom scored a last-gasp equaliser to deny Fulham a first home win in the league since defeat of QPR on April 1 in the previous Premier League contest and Jol's men were on the receiving end of another late blow.
Fulham owner Shahid Khan has already removed the Michael Jackson statue from Craven Cottage and Jol could be the next to be toppled.
Victory over Everton in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night helped alleviate some of the pressure on the Dutchman, who selected Darren Bent as one of five changes.
Fulham were forced into an early change when Scott Parker limped off, with Giorgos Karagounis on in his place.
Only Peter Odemwingie was retained from the Cardiff side which lost in the League Cup to West Ham and the Nigeria forward was an early nuisance to Fulham.
The blow suffered by Parker's departure was exacerbated when Fulham fell behind from a Peter Whittingham corner, which Caulker headed in unopposed eight yards out.
It was reminiscent of the West Brom equaliser a fortnight ago which resulted in calls for Jol's departure.
The Dutchman needed a response from his team, but it was Cardiff who were lifted by the goal and Andrew Taylor had a header cleared away by Steve Sidwell.
Fulham held firm and had opportunities of their own. An Alex Kacaniklic cross was just too high for Berbatov, before Kieran Richardson volleyed off target.
Another Whittingham set-piece highlighted the deficiencies in the Fulham defence when Ben Turner lost Brede Hangeland to head towards goal. Fortunately for the Fulham captain, David Stockdale was equal to it.
Caulker had the ball in the net for a second time, but the strike was ruled out for a push on Stockdale, who was continuing to deputise for Maarten Stekelenburg but does not appear to have the full confidence of his defence.
Hangeland and company could have to get used to Stockdale's presence, with surgery a possibility to rectify Stekelenburg's troublesome shoulder.
Karagounis tested David Marshall from the edge of the area before Jol made his second change before the interval, sending on Ruiz for Kacaniklic.
It appeared to be a tactical move, but it was a gamble given Ruiz has been struggling with an ankle injury of late.
But it paid off as the newcomer collected a pass infield from Pajtim Kasami and picked his spot with a delightful curling effort which Marshall could only watch as the ball soared into the top corner.
Ruiz celebrated by running to the bench to high-five Jol, whose team appeared less fragile in the early stages of the second half.
Yet it was Cardiff who nearly took the lead for a second time.
Mutch replaced Kim Bo-kyung and had an immediate impact, playing through Campbell who fluffed the opportunity.
Fulham then manufactured a number of chances without making the most of them.
Berbatov came close, meeting Sascha Riether's cross outside the far post but unable to find the target.
Ruiz then created a chance for Kasami, who merely side-footed the ball tamely at Marshall.
After confusion in the defensive ranks earlier in the contest, then it was the forwards' turn to contrive to mess up a chance as Bent delayed on a pass to Ruiz, who over-ran the ball.
Kasami's shot after a solo run was blocked by Caulker before the Fulham midfielder weakly hit his follow-up at Marshall.
There was a twist in the tale as Mutch brought down a long ball forward, got a lucky break off Richardson and curled the ball into the top corner.
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