Match ends, Fulham 1, Chelsea 2.
Fulham caretaker manager Scott Parker says he is planning for the long term after his first match in charge ended in a narrow defeat by Chelsea.
The Premier League strugglers produced a much-improved performance in their first game since the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, but remain deep in relegation trouble.
With nine matches remaining, they are 10 points from safety and have lost eight of their past nine league games.
"The most important thing was we showed character," said Parker. "Our centre-halves got the ball and played. This is the way Fulham play and the way I want my team to play.
"I am thinking long term in the best interests of Fulham. I will treat this as long term because I want to help this club."
Gonzalo Higuain set Chelsea on the way to a first Premier League away win of 2019 with a high-quality finish from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross.
Fulham equalised through Calum Chambers from a corner, awarded after recalled Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga produced an outstanding stop to keep out Aleksandar Mitrovic's volley.
They were level for only four minutes, Jorginho's well placed finish from 20 yards leaving Chelsea only two points adrift of fourth spot.
Ryan Sessegnon thought he had equalised in the closing moments but the 18-year-old's effort was ruled out for offside.
- Kepa is a man and he understood his mistake - Sarri in forgiving mood
- Reaction from Craven Cottage and the rest of Sunday's Premier League games
Better from Fulham but relegation looms
Despite a 20th league defeat of the season, Fulham fans applauded the home side off the pitch at the end after a much improved performance.
Parker demanded a response in his first game and he got one, but time is running out for a team who have looked out of their depth most of the season.
Relegation is looming for Fulham, whose run-in includes home matches against title-chasing Liverpool and Manchester City.
It might have been a different story but for Arrizabalaga.
The Chelsea keeper was kept busy with saves from Tom Cairney and Joe Bryan, but his acrobatic first-half stop to deny Mitrovic, with the score 1-0 to Chelsea, was outstanding.
It resulted in a corner from which Chambers, who was left totally unmarked, equalised. But Chelsea were soon level again.
In a frantic ending, Serbia forward Mitrovic could have equalised but headed straight at Arrizabalaga before Sessegnon put the ball in the back of the net only for a tight offside call to go against him.
Parker has described his new role as an "audition" and he certainly got a spirited reaction from his players. Now he has to find a way of turning decent performances into points.
Kepa back with a bang
Seven days ago Chelsea were portrayed as a club in meltdown after goalkeeper Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted during the Carabao Cup final defeat by Manchester City.
The Spanish keeper was dropped for the midweek win against Tottenham but was back in the team at Fulham as Chelsea made it back-to-back wins in the league.
With the game goalless, Arrizabalaga was lucky to escape after dropping the ball at the feet of Ryan Babel on the edge of the six-yard area.
But he made up for his mistake with a wonderful save to deny Mitrovic before being let down by his defenders for Chambers' goal.
Chelsea were far from their fluent best and they wasted chances to put the game out of sight before Fulham's late rally.
|Race for the Premier League top four|
|10 March Man Utd (H)||10 March Wolves (H)||10 March Arsenal (A)||9 March Southampton (A)|
|17 March Everton (A)|
|1 April Newcastle (H)||31 March Cardiff (A)||30 March Watford (H)||31 March Liverpool (A)|
|2 April Wolves (A)|
|7 April Everton (A)||8 April West Ham (H)||7 April Brighton (H)|
|15 April Watford (A)||14 April Liverpool (A)||13 April West Ham (H)||13 April Huddersfield (H)|
|20 April Crystal Palace (H)||22 April Burnley (H)||21 April Everton (A)||20 April Manchester City (A)|
|24 April Man City (H)|
|29 April Leicester (A)||28 April Man Utd (A)||28 April Chelsea (H)||27 April West Ham (H)|
|4 May Brighton (H)||4 May Watford (H)||4 May Huddersfield (A)||4 May Bournemouth (A)|
|12 May Burnley (A)||12 May Leicester (A)||12 May Cardiff (H)||12 May Everton (H)|
|Wolves (A) Date TBC||Brighton (H) Date TBC||Crystal Palace (H) Date TBC|
Towards the end of the first half, Higuain, who now has three goals in five league games for the club, missed a great opportunity to make it 3-1, before Fulham keeper Sergio Rico produced a sublime one-handed save to keep out the Argentine.
With Chelsea having a game in hand over the teams above them, the race to finish in a Champions League spot could yet go to the final weekend of the season.
Man of the match - Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
'We were tired mentally and physically' - what they said
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri: "We played very well only for 60 minutes. We could have killed the match.
"We were not able to so in the last 20 or 25 minutes we were in trouble because we were very tired mentally and physically after 120 minutes against Manchester City and a strong match against Tottenham.
"But I am really very happy with the performance for 60 minutes and the result."
Why Fulham don't like derbies - the stats
- Fulham have become the first side to lose 10 London derbies in the top flight in a single season.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in 18 Premier League games against Fulham.
- Eden Hazard became the third Chelsea player to both score and assist 50 Premier League goals (81 goals, 50 assists) after Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.
- Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald has been on the winning side in just three of his 38 Premier League games (7.9%); among players to have played as many as 38 Premier League matches, only Rudy Gestede (3.9%, two wins in 51) has a lower win percentage.
- Fulham have lost more matches than any other side in the top five European leagues in all competitions during 2019 (9).
Fulham are away to Leicester City in the Premier League next Saturday (15:00 GMT) while Chelsea are in action on Thursday, when Dynamo Kiev visit Stamford Bridge in a Europa League last-16 first-leg tie (20:00 GMT).
- 5ChambersBooked at 22mins
- 6McDonaldBooked at 51minsSubstituted forZambo Anguissaat 62'minutes
- 12BabelSubstituted forAyitéat 71'minutes
- 10CairneySubstituted forViettoat 80'minutes
- 3R Sessegnon
- 20Le Marchand
- 29Zambo Anguissa
- 5JorginhoBooked at 61minsSubstituted forKovacicat 68'minutes
- 8BarkleySubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 78'minutes
- 10E HazardSubstituted forPedroat 74'minutes
- 30David Luiz
- Graham Scott
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Chelsea 2.
Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham).
Foul by Emerson (Chelsea).
Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Offside, Fulham. Luciano Vietto tries a through ball, but Ryan Sessegnon is caught offside.
Willian (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Fulham).
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Joe Bryan (Fulham) because of an injury.
Attempt blocked. N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gonzalo Higuaín.
Attempt saved. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Floyd Ayité.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Calum Chambers (Fulham).
Offside, Fulham. Håvard Nordtveit tries a through ball, but Aleksandar Mitrovic is caught offside.
Hand ball by Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).
Substitution, Fulham. Luciano Vietto replaces Tom Cairney.
Substitution, Chelsea. Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Ross Barkley.
Foul by Andreas Christensen (Chelsea).