The first was questionable but the second was clear.
Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta conceded two penalties and earned himself a straight red card for the latter.
On the other end, Yaya Toure splashed both into the back of the net and added a stunning free-kick for his hat-trick, as Manchester City eased past a composed visiting side prone to devastating mistakes and earned themselves the pole position for the Premier League title.
Neither side had any good pops on the opposition goal in the first 15 minutes, a win for Fulham. City had an early half-shout for handball against Steve Sidwell in the box but it was waved off.
However, the home side began to build, and James Milner took a 17th minute crack at goal but it was saved low by David Stockdale.
Fulham themselves had a good chance just five minutes later, as a Kieran Richardson free kick came blasting back off the wall. It fell back to Fulham, who worked to Alex Kacaniklic with space in the box. His shot was blocked, but it came back to Richardson who rifled just wide of Joe Hart’s post.
Manchester City’s breakthrough came back on the other end. On 25 minutes, a long ball for Alvaro Negredo in the box was going well over, but Fernando Amorebieta jumped with the City forward anyways and kicked him in the back of the leg. Negredo went down theatrically, but the kick is hard to argue with and John Moss awarded the penalty via his assistant referee who flagged furiously.
Yaya Toure slotted the penalty through easily past a wrong-footed David Stockdale and City had their lead despite a solid start from Fulham.
City poured on the attack, and despite a chance for Sascha Riether with a header on the counter, there was little respite for the visitors defending. With 9 minutes to go to the break, a shot by Negredo from a tight angle brought Stockdale out of his goal, and Amorebieta was called upon to head off the line and keep out a second.
Aleks Kolarov had a go from a tight angle just before halftime, but Stockdale tipped it to the crossbar and the metal did the rest to keep City from doubling up.
Following the break, the Whites knew their chances would come if they could just hold onto their defensive shape, but they failed to do so.
With David Silva free on the right edge of the box, Amorebieta clattered the City attacker with a two-footed challenge, an easy decision for the referee who pointed to the spot and produced a straight red card.
With Fulham down a man and two goals, there was no way back for the team sitting bottom of the table and Manchester City saw the game out as the rain began to pour down, symbolic of Fulham’s season.
With the red card, promising youngster Patrick Roberts was handed his Fulham debut, marking somewhat of a consolation for Fulham as he looked quality.
City nearly had a fourth in the 78th minute but Martin Demichelis’s header off a corner was saved off the line by Riether.
They would end up with another six minutes from full time with a howitzer from Fernandinho on a tight angle after he beats William Kvist with just one touch. Then Demichelis would add insult to injury with a fifth, a tap-in following a Stockdale save.
With Arsenal’s drubbing at Chelsea earlier in the day, the three points allows Manchester City to jump into the third spot, still two back of Liverpool and six off the Blues with a pair of games in hand. The games in hand mean City are at the moment in the lead for the Premier League title race.
Fulham still have their win two weekends ago against Newcastle to hang onto, but pending other results today they could be in a very dangerous position bottom of the table. They came into the match four points from safety and theoretically five with their poor goal differential.
Manchester City – Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure (Rodwell 77′), Milner, Nasri (Jovetic 82′), Silva (Navas 68′); Negredo.
Goals: Toure 26′ (pen), 54′ (pen), 65′; Fernandinho 84′, Demichelis 88′
Fulham – Stockdale; Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Riise; Kačaniklić (Roberts 55′), Riether, Kvist, Sidwell, Richardson (Holtby 55′); Woodrow (Kasami 84′).
Discipline: Amorebieta straight red 53′