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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Fulham, Cardiff pick up vital victories

Fulham gave themselves an excellent chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League by beating Norwich City 1-0 in a crucial six-pointer at Craven Cottage.

Fulham's Hugo Rodallega celebrates scoring the opening goal of the match
Fulham's Hugo Rodallega celebrates scoring the opening goal of the match

Hugo Rodallega was the hero once again as the Cottagers made it back-to-back wins, boosting their survival bid and moving to within two points of their 17th-placed opponents in the last position above the drop zone.

Rodallega struck five minutes before the break, firing the ball into the roof of the net after Steve Sidwell nodded Lewis Holtby's free kick from the left into his path.

Norwich now find themselves in a precarious position, with their final four fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Cardiff City have added additional pressure after they picked up a fine 1-0 win at Southampton, closing to within three points of Norwich.

Juan Cala's goal on 65 minutes proved to be enough, with the defender blasting the ball through a crowd of players and into the net from the edge of the area.

Tony Pulis' managerial record of never having suffered relegation looks safe after Jason Puncheon made it three goals in two games for Crystal Palace, following up his double in the 3-0 win at Cardiff last week with the only goal in their 1-0 victory against Aston Villa at Selhurst Park.

Palace came close in the second half when Cameron Jerome struck the bar after Brad Guzan's save from Yannick Bolasie's shot fell to him yards out.

But the hosts found the breakthrough on 76 minutes, with Puncheon scoring his sixth of the season after putting Bolasie's low ball into the net.

The win moves Palace seven points clear of the relegation zone, with Villa just four points above Fulham after their fourth consecutive defeat.

Everton leapfrogged Arsenal into fourth place in the Premier League with a narrow 1-0 win at Sunderland which heaped more misery on Gus Poyet's relegation-threatened side.

Gerard Deulofeu came close to opening the scoring in the second half, cutting inside from the right and shooting across the face of goal.

However it was second time lucky for Deulofeu, who went down the right and crossed the ball into the box with Wes Brown chesting it into his own net with a quarter of an hour remaining.

The win sees Everton move into the final Champions League spot, two points ahead of Arsene Wenger's side with five games remaining for each team, with Sunderland still rooted to the bottom of the Premier League and seven points adrift of safety.

Tottenham Hotspur kept their slim top four hopes alive after coming back from three down to earn a 3-3 draw at West Bromwich Albion as Christian Eriksen snatched an injury time equaliser.

West Brom raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening four minutes when Matej Vydra followed in after Hugo Lloris could only parry Morgan Amalfitano's effort with just 30 seconds played. Chris Brunt volleyed in soon after.

Spurs had the chance to pull one back from the spot after Amalfitano brought down Danny Rose in the box, but Emmanuel Adebayor's poor effort was saved by Ben Foster.

The visitors were then made to pay on 31 minutes when Younes Kaboul's headed pass back to Lloris was chased down by Stephane Sessegnon, who held off Vlad Chiriches and slotted home.

However just three minutes later, Spurs were given a glimmer of hope when Jonas Olsson diverted Aaron Lennon's cross into his own net.

Harry Kane headed home Lennon's cross on 70 minutes to ensure a tense finish, and West Brom couldn't hold on for three valuable points when Eriksen hammered into the top corner in the 94th minute. It leaves the Baggies precariously three points above the bottom three.

In the day's other game, Stoke saw off Newcastle 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium thanks to Erik Pieters' speculative first-half effort. On the verge of half-time, left back Pieters' cross-shot caught Tim Krul cold, floating over the goalkeeper's head and in off the far post.

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