Cardiff City’s second season in the Premier League ended the same way as their first: relegation after one season.
Cardiff lost 3-2 to Crystal Palace at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, as the Welsh side are four points from safety with one game to go and Neil Warnock‘s newly-promoted side have joined Fulham and Huddersfield as the three teams who were relegated this season.
With Cardiff’s relegation confirmed, Brighton & Hove Albion are now secured of being in the Premier League for the 2019-20 season.
With the win Palace move on to 46 points for the season, while Cardiff have 31 points and now travel to Manchester United on the final day knowing it will be their last in the top-flight for at least 12 months.
Palace started the game well as Zaha went close and the visitors were soon ahead via their main man. Zaha controlled the ball, cut inside and placed a low finish past Neil Etheridge to put the Eagles 1-0 up as Cardiff’s slow start was punished.
But no sooner had they went behind, Cardiff equalized in bizarre circumstances. Leandro Bacuna whipped a ball into the box which was harmless, but Kelly got his clearance all wrong and shanked the ball into his own net. 1-1. Game on.
Batshuayi then scored to regain the lead for Palace, as he played a one-two with Jordan Ayew and then slotted home to make it 2-1 in a frantic first half.
Moments later James McArthur ran down the right and found Zaha who struck a shot at goal but his effort was blocked by his own player Ayew. At the other end Bruno Manga headed over and then Vicente Guaita made a fine stop to deny Bobby Reid, while Palace then went close again but Neil Etheridge saved bravely.
Murphy’s shot was blocked and Kenneth Zohore‘s shot was saved by Guaita as Cardiff pushed hard, but that led to Palace scoring another as Townsend’s low strike hit the post and went in to make it 3-1.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing had a shot cleared off the line, then Junior Hoilett missed a great chance as the home side threw everything at Crystal Palace to try and keep their hopes of a dramatic survival alive.
Reid curled home to make it 3-2 late on, but that was how the game finished as the Eagles sent the Bluebirds back down to the second-tier.
Cardiff City host Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) and the equation for the Bluebirds is simple.
Neil Warnock‘s men must win to keep their faint hopes of Premier League survival alive, as they are four points behind Brighton with two games to go for both teams but Cardiff have a much worse goal difference compared to Brighton who sit one place out of the relegation zone.
Already-relegated Fulham won a third-straight Premier League game with a shutout as they beat Cardiff City 1-0 at Craven Cottage to push their opponents closer to the drop.
Ryan Babel smashed home an incredible strike to win it for Fulham who impressed throughout, while Cardiff sat back and then pummelled the Fulham goal late on but a combination of Sergio Rico making stops and poor finishing saw the Bluebirds lose.
After a third-straight win Fulham move on to 26 points, while Cardiff have 31 points and face Crystal Palace and Manchester United in their final two games of the season. Neil Warnock‘s side will likely have to win both to stay up, and even then it may not be enough.
Mitrovic spurned a glorious chance at the start of the second half as Tom Cariney picked him out, but the Serbian striker fired way over the bar. At the other end Cardiff started to push men forward as Leandro Bacuna slipped at a vital moment.
Late on Cardiff threw themselves at the ball as Joe Bennett denied Joe Bryan with a great last-ditch tackle. Mitrovic curled another effort just over as Fulham looked the more likely to score and then they did.
Babel curled home a magnificent strike to make it 1-0, as his sensational strike from distance was his fourth goal in his last six games. But that strike sprung Cardiff into life as Sergio Rico saved on multiple occasions.
Bennett went close but Rico saved, then Hoilett hit the crossbar and Rico then denied Bennett, Morrison (twice) and Danny Ward who all should have scored.
Somehow Fulham held on for the win which pushed Cardiff closer to relegation.
The Hornets put it to bed as the clock hit 80, with Deulofeu cranking an Abdoulaye Doucoure rebound under Lossl (when in all actuality he was a bit fortunate, as he should have hit it at any other part of the net).