LONDON • When Fulham were awarded a penalty in the 36th minute at Leicester on Monday, fans watching at home might have been inclined to avert their gaze.
So lamentable has the Cottagers’ recent record from the spot been that having a penalty awarded in their favour has become a poisoned chalice for whoever lines up the shot.
Before Monday, Fulham had failed to convert five of their last eight penalty kicks in the Premier League, including their last three. Three weeks ago Ademola Lookman had left manager Scott Parker fuming after attempting a “Panenka” in stoppage time when trailing 1-0 to West Ham.
Then, in their last game, a 3-2 defeat by Everton, Ivan Cavaleiro slipped in his run-up and kicked the ball against his standing foot and watched in horror as his attempt ballooned over the crossbar.
So when he took hold of the ball on Monday, the stage was set for another entry into the “how not to take a penalty” catalogue.
Instead, he drilled a firm effort past Kasper Schmeichel to double Fulham’s lead given to them by Lookman.
Parker could not hide his relief as Fulham won 2-1 to move out of the relegation zone into 17th spot.
“We’ve practised penalties all week, I asked (Cavaleiro) yesterday if he’s ready to take one tomorrow,” the manager said.
“He looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘yeah, I’m ready’. The courage, the bravery after a slip, to step up there, they’re the things that we need.
“They’re the things that will determine how good these players will become, and us as a team, what we’ll become.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, whose team remained fourth, admitted that Fulham were worthy winners.
He said: “We’re disappointed, mistakes were made in the first half. We had a lot more of the ball but lacked creativity. I thought Fulham deserved to win it, they had more energy in the first half and pounced on our mistakes.”
In another match on Monday, West Ham climbed to fifth with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.