Fulham 2-1 Chelsea: Joao Felix sent off as Willian and Carlos Vinicius goals seal rare win for Cottagers over local rivals

The Portugal star had a debut to forget in his first game for Chelsea.

Joao Felix had a disappointing start to his Chelsea career after he was sent off in the Blues Premier League clash against Fulham on Thursday evening.

Felix joined Chelsea on a six-month loan from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. Barely 30 hours after he joined, Chelsea manager Graham Potter handed the Portugal star a start in the Blues team that faced Fulham. 

Felix’s lively start 

Report and highlights as Chelsea suffer first defeat to Fulham since 2006; Willian scored against his old club; Carlos Vinicius ended his goal drought; Joao Felix sent off after initially impressing on his debut, with Kalidou Koulibaly’s goal not enough for Graham Potter’s struggling side

Felix started brightly and was Chelsea’s best player in the first half. But despite his impressive displays, the Blues went into the break behind, courtesy of a strike from their former star, Willian. 

Fulham celebrated a first win over local rivals Chelsea in almost 17 years on Thursday, with their 2-1 victory at a bouncing Craven Cottage moving them up to sixth in the Premier League and heaping the pressure on Blues boss Graham Potter, who saw new loan signing Joao Felix sent off on his debut.

It was Chelsea old boy Willian who got Fulham up and running after an encouraging start from the visitors, firing in (25) with the help of a deflection against the side where he spent seven years of his career.

Chelsea responded immediately after the break as they drew level through Kalidou Koulibaly. However, just as it looked they would go on to win the match, things turned for the worse for them as Felix was sent off.

Felix went from hero to zero 

 The 23-year-old was shown his marching orders in the 58th minute for a high challenge on Kenny Tete, bringing his debut to a premature end. 

With the red card, Felix became the first Chelsea player to be sent off on his Premier League debut the first to do so for any club since Federico Fazio for Spurs vs Manchester City in October 2014. 

His dimissal hurt Chelsea badly as Fulham restored their lead in the 73rd minute through Carlos Vinicius. Vinicius’ goal turned out to be the winner, condeming Potter to yet another defeat. 

The Blues will hope to bounce back when they host Crystal Palace in their next match, but they will have to play without Felix, who will now serve a three-match ban.

Fulham had already had a penalty appeal waved away and struck the bar through Bobby Decordova-Reid by that point, with Chelsea’s defence clearly low on confidence, but Potter’s men struck back at the start of the second half when Kalidou Koulibaly (47) forced the ball over the line after Mason Mount’s free-kick hit the post.

Felix had seemed destined to grab the headlines after being thrown into the starting line-up just over 24 hours after completing his switch from Atletico Madrid, with a fantastic first-half performance lighting up what has been a toothless Chelsea attack. But in the end, his first appearance will be remembered for a foolish studs-up lunge at Kenny Tete.

His straight red card on 57 minutes means he will now be suspended for three of the remaining 20 Premier League games of his loan period, compounding Potter’s problems on a night Denis Zakaria was added to their already lengthy injury list.

It was all smiles for Carlos Vinicius though as he ended a 10-month goal drought with a towering header the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic would have been proud of to win it for the hosts.

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