Fulham profited from two memorable goals on Monday to earn a convincing 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace got on the board first when Adrian Mariappa outleaped defender Brede Hangeland in the seventh minute, to head a deflected, high-arching cross from Jason Puncheon past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
Fulham took over from there, with the Cottagers equalizing in spectacular fashion in the 19th minute. In a strike that should elicit “Goal of the Year” considerations, Pajtim Kasami sprinted along the right side and beautifully collected a deep pass from Sascha Riether, before unleashing an instant, outstanding volley past goalkeeper Julian Speroni into the top corner of the net. The Swiss midfielder of Albanian descent was mobbed by teammates in his second career goal for Fulham since debuting for the club in 2011.
Fulham would get another fantastic strike just before halftime. A free-kick from Bryan Ruiz hit the Palace wall, but bounced back to Steve Sidwell, who delivered a crisp right-foot volley from beyond the box that sailed just inside the left post.
In the 50th minute, former Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov headed the ball in from short range off a corner from Ruiz. The final goal arrived six minutes later when Philipe Senderos struck a leaping volley from close range off a corner. Speroni was able to get his body on the ball, but simply failed to keep it from crossing the line.
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The Cottagers nearly found a fifth goal in the 86th minute, when Berbatov found Kasami, who was denied a second spectacular goal of the game when his first-time shot from the edge of the box with the outside of his left foot was brilliantly saved by the acrobatic leap of Speroni.
Both sides entered the match in the bottom four and under much pressure to get a result. The win lifts Fulham up into the relative serenity of 14th place, while a defeat for Palace means they remain second from bottom. Ian Holloway’s side have taken just three points from eight matches since promotion from the Championship last season.
Up next for Fulham is a road match against Southampton on Saturday, while Palace host Premier League leaders Arsenal.
An IB Times staff reporter contributed to this report.