LONDON, (Reuters) – Relegated Fulham dealt Everton’s hopes of Europa League action next season a heavy blow at Craven Cottage on Saturday as they beat their visitors 2-0 with goals from captain Tom Cairney and Ryan Babel.
After an action-packed but goalless first half, Cairney broke the deadlock just seconds after the restart when Ryan Babel raced down the left and into the area before cutting the ball back to him.
Cairney, one of the Cottagers’ promotion-winning heroes last season, lashed his first Premier League goal in low past Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, putting his side on track for only their fifth win of an otherwise miserable campaign in the top flight.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin came nearest for Everton, hitting the post soon after the goal, but Babel sealed the win in the 69th minute, taking off on a solo run from the halfway line before coolly chipping the ball over Pickford.
Everton’s loss means they stay ninth on 46 points. The Merseysiders have been climbing back into contention for Europa League action next season with their recent run of strong results, but need to reach seventh place to secure that.
Fulham’s win leaves the already-relegated Londoners second from bottom on 20 points.
(Reporting by Hugh Lawson; Editing by Ian Chadband)