Babel stunner sends Cardiff closer to relegation from EPL

Fulham's Ryan Babel, center left, celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Fulham and Cardiff City at Craven Cottage stadium, London, England. Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)
Fulham's Ryan Babel, left, in action with Cardiff City's Bruno Ecuele Manga during the English Premier League soccer match between Fulham and Cardiff City at Craven Cottage stadium, London, England. Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)

LONDON — A spectacular strike from Ryan Babel pushed Cardiff closer to relegation from the English Premier League as already-relegated Fulham won 1-0 for a third successive victory on Saturday.

Babel scored his third goal in four matches with a curling effort from 25 yards (meters) in the 77th minute at Craven Cottage.

With relegation rival Brighton drawing with Newcastle 1-1 later Saturday, third-to-last Cardiff slipped four points behind Brighton with two games left in the battle to avoid becoming the final team demoted along with Fulham and Huddersfield.

Cardiff's final two games are against Crystal Palace and Manchester United, while Brighton still has to play Arsenal and Manchester City.

Fulham's run of decent form under caretaker manager Scott Parker has come too late to save the team from the drop.

The match was marred by what appeared to be a horrific injury to Denis Odoi, who stooped to head the ball clear and took a boot in the face from his Fulham teammate, Maxime Le Marchand.

The defender appeared to have been out cold as he crumpled to the ground. Although he initially got back to his feet, he then required treatment for eight minutes before eventually being taken off on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask.

Odoi did not need to be taken to hospital, however.

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More AP English soccer: https://apnews.com/PremierLeague and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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