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  • By Yann Tear at Selhurst Park

Fulham have better of it but Selhurst derby ends in stalemate as Eagles refuse to play ball

Crystal Palace (0) 0

Fulham (0) 0

A match perpetually in search of a spark failed to find one as it drifted towards its inevitably tame conclusion.

It was not for the want of trying on the part of the Whites, who had much the better of it and fashioned enough half-chances to have claimed the win they craved.

They also carved out one particularly glorious opportunity, with Josh Maja’s close-range header well saved by Vicente Guaita midway through the second half.

It was never a great spectacle, with the Eagles too passive and too intent on spoiling to allow the game to breathe.

The Whites will rue their failure to make their superiority tell but it is still a useful point in the quest to beat the drop and they are back to within three points of safety.

Fulham carried just that little bit of a threat throughout in a match mired in little battles for that extra yard of space. Twice Joachim Andersen got on the end of crosses from Ademola Lookman in the first half to send headers goalwards – but well-off target.

The defender also popped up with a volley in the second half which forced Guaita into a save, while his centrally-located free-kick from 25 yards out arrowed just past the post.

Maja did not free himself from his markers too often but did get a left foot shot away from inside the D after turning his man and then got in a near-post header after sub Ivan Cavaleiro had swung in a great cross from the right. It needed a fine instinctive save from Guaita to keep it out.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek had a couple of goes at breaking the deadlock too from outside the box, and Lookman volleyed wide at the far post after being picked out by a flighted ball from the tireless Harrison Reed. But once again that bit of extra polish in the final third was missing.

The Eagles, with attacking ambitions curtailed because of injury to Wilfried Zaha, were happy to sit back and absorb for the most part. There was far less pressure on them, as that last-gasp win at Brighton in midweek has given them the buffer they needed to keep clear of the relegation zone.

No-one will be too surprised that it ended 0-0.

Eagles: Guaita – Ward, Kouyate, Cahill, Van Aanholt – Riedewald, Milivojevic, Eze (McCarthy 79) – Ayew, Benteke, Townsend. Subs not used: Butland, Dann, Mateta, Batshuayi, Mitchell, Kelly, Hannam

Whites: Areola – Tete, Andersen, Tosin, Aina (Robinson h/t) – Anguissa (Mitrovic 73), Reed – Reid (Cavaleiro 66), Loftus-Cheek, Lookman – Maja. Subs not used: Fabri, Mitrovic, Ream, Lemina, Bryan, Onomah, Kongolo


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