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Cardiff City picked up their first away win in the Barclays Premier League, beating Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage.
Steven Caulker put Cardiff ahead with his first goal for the club after 11 minutes, before substitute Bryan Ruiz levelled matters for Fulham on the stroke of half-time. Just when it looked as though the sides would have to settle for a point apiece, Jordon Mutch expertly curled an effort past a helpless Robbie Stockdale.
Both sides made one change from their last league outing, with Dimitar Berbatov coming in for Damien Duff after scoring for Fulham against Everton in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, while Peter Odemwingie made his first Barclays Premier League start for Cardiff, following his debut appearance in the 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Fulham were dealt an early blow when Scott Parker was forced off through injury, with Giorgos Karagounis taking his place, and the visitors were ahead after 11 minutes thanks to Caulker. The captain and record signing rose above Steven Sidwell to head past Stockdale.
While the hosts were initially rocked by the goal, Martin Jol's men did enjoy a strong spell of possession during the next 10 minutes but struggled to create any clear-cut chances. They were almost two down when Ben Turner forced a good save from Stockdale after 26 minutes before hitting the outside of a post with another headed effort just a minute later.
Alexander Kacaniklic was swapped for Ruiz five minutes before the break as Jol looked to invigorate his ineffective forward line. The move paid dividends soon after, with Ruiz levelling for Fulham with his first goal of the season. The Costa Rican curled home a sumptuous effort from outside the area on the stroke of half-time past David Marshall.
Fulham began the second half well but it was Cardiff who created the first chance, with Fraizer Campbell poking over the bar following a Mutch through-ball. The home side continued to press but were unable to break down Cardiff's resolute defence before Malky Mackay's men struck in injury time, Mutch opening his account for the club, curling past Stockdale at the death to extend Fulham's winless run in the league to five.
Fulham manager Martin Jol: "You feel ashamed to lose this in the dying seconds again. You feel ashamed about the first goal as well because you taught them how to do something in training and we've got the size but they still got the header. It's very disappointing.
"We changed the formation and got the equaliser and from then until the end of the game we could have scored a couple of goals. We worked hard but we didn't have the rub of the green. I don't want to see this club at the bottom of the table. I know we can do a lot better. We will be OK but this is a blow. Cardiff are not a team that are going to be in the top six and we have to win these games."
Cardiff manager Malky Mackay: "I felt we were fantastic today from the first minute and showed great resilience. We kept going to the end and put three substitutes on to go and try to win the game and one of them actually scored the winner, which was a fantastic strike.
"It was just reward in the end and overall I thought it was a very good performance and I am delighted with them. What pleased me most was the calmness of heads to pick the pass. We had a lot of possession and Gary Medel ran the game and overall there was just that belief to never give up.
"We were excellent against Spurs last Sunday and it was a cruel blow to lose in the last minute but we thoroughly deserved to win today."
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|28 Dec 2013||v Hull (A)|