Sports Desk, Jan 12 (EFE).- Pressed into action a day after joining Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid, Joao Felix created several good chances Thursday before being sent off at the hour mark and the 10-man Blues went on to lose 2-1 to surprising Fulham.
With just one victory in their last nine Premier League games, Chelsea are 10th on 25 points, while Fulham extended their winning streak to four to climb to sixth place with 31 points.
The red card for the Portuguese striker brings to 11 the number of first-team players unavailable to coach Graham Fuller for Chelsea’s match Sunday with Crystal Palace.
Felix made an impact in the third minute of the contest at Craven Cottage, setting up a scoring chance for Lewis Hall, whose effort posed no problems for goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
The new arrival went on to win a free-kick in the 5th and took his first shot in a Chelsea shirt in the 10th minute.
Fulham’s Bobby De Cordova-Reid hit the woodwork two minutes before former Chelsea man Willian put the Cottagers ahead in the 25th minute.
Out of respect for his old club, the Brazilian veteran did not celebrate.
Leno stopped Felix – twice – and Hall to preserve the edge for Fulham at the break.
The Blues pulled level early in the second half off a set piece. Mason Mount delivered a free kick that bounced off the post to Kalidou Koulibaly in the six-yard box and the defender nudged it across the line.
Chelsea’s good fortune was short-lived. Denis Zakaria left the field with an injury in the 56th minute and Felix saw red just two minutes later for a studs-up challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.
Kai Havertz forced a stop from Leno and the Blues defused a threat on the free kick to stay alive in the West London derby until Carlos Vinicius beat Kepa with a thunderous header in the 73rd minute to make it 2-1 for Fulham.
The Blues soldiered on and Havertz tested Leno again in stoppage time, but the hosts hung on to take all 3 points. EFE msg/dr