CRYSTAL PALACE 1
FULHAM manager Martin Jol paid tribute to midfielder Pajtim Kasami’s goal of the season contender that piled the pressure on Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway last night.
Palace took an early lead through Adrian Mariappa, but Kasami levelled with a spectacular volley, before goals from Steve Sidwell, Dimitar Berbatov and Philippe Senderos saw the Cottagers score four away from home in the Premier League for the first time since November 2004.
And Jol was left to draw comparisons with Kasami’s wonder-strike and a famous Marco Van Basten volley for Holland against USSR in the Euro ’88 final.
“It’s better than people think because he controlled the ball on his chest then hit it with his wrong foot,” said Jol. “It was a great goal from a talented boy. This was probably better [than Van Basten’s goal], because he needed two touches to score the goal. It could be one of the goals of the season.”
Victory for Fulham moved them three points clear of the relegation zone – and seven clear of 19th-placed Palace.
Holloway met with Eagles chairman Steve Parish after the game to discuss their poor return of seven defeats from their opening eight Premier League matches.
And the former QPR boss has questioned whether some of the summer additions to his squad have the stomach for the fight.
“The character of the boys we had here last year is fantastic, now we need to get the same from the boys we’ve brought in over the summer,” said Holloway. “Since we handed in that squad list of 25 we have lost five out of five.
“Something isn’t right and we need to start showing the spirit to bounce back. This club still has 30 games to play in the Premier League. That’s more than enough points to see us safe.”
The evening started disastrously for Fulham when Mariappa headed in Jason Puncheon’s deflected left-wing cross on seven minutes.
But the visitors levelled on 19 minutes when full-back Sascha Riether sent a searching long pass down the right-flank which Kasami controlled on his chest before unleashing an angled volley across goal from the edge of the box and over goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
On the stroke of half-time Fulham took the lead with another spectacular goal. Bryan Ruiz’s 25-yard free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall and the loose ball sat up perfectly for Sidwell to loop in from the edge of the box.
On 50 minutes Berbatov outjumped Mariappa to head in Ruiz’s corner and five minutes later Palace’s misery was compounded when Senderos volleyed in Ruiz’s corner at the far post.