Leicester City’s Premier League survival hopes suffered a blow as they were beaten 5-3 by Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The hosts opened the scoring through a Willian free-kick before strikes from Carlos Vinicius and Tom Cairney powered them into a 3-0 half-time lead.

Cairney added another after the restart before Harvey Barnes pulled a goal back for the visitors, who then saw Jamie Vardy miss a penalty in the 66th minute.

Willian re-established Fulham’s four-goal lead with another fine strike before James Maddison netted Leicester’s second with an 81st-minute spot-kick.

Barnes scored a late third but the struggling Foxes slumped to an underwhelming defeat.

Leicester remain just above the drop zone on goal difference with relegation rivals Nottingham Forest and Everton both playing later on Monday.

Fulham ended a three-match winless run and remain 10th, two points behind west London rivals Brentford.

Woeful Leicester booed off at half-time

Leicester are desperate for points and, with matches against Liverpool and Newcastle still to come, Foxes fans would have circled Fulham away as a must-win fixture in their battle to avoid the drop.

But against a side who had lost three of their past four matches at home, Leicester were woeful in the first half.

The Foxes fell behind in the 10th minute when keeper Daniel Iversen misjudged Willian’s wide free-kick and the ball bounced underneath him before nestling in the bottom corner.

Vinicius’ goal finished off a fine counter-attacking move before Cairney scored on just his third league start of the season with an impressive curling finish.

Trailing by three goals at the break, Leicester were booed off by the visiting fans and the mood only got bleaker when Cairney added Fulham’s fourth in the 51st minute.

However, Barnes gave his side a glimmer of hope, before Vardy was caught by Bernd Leno midway through the second half – but when the striker missed the resulting spot-kick, any unlikely thoughts of a comeback ended.

Fulham soon added a fifth against a porous defence – and Leicester have now failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their past 20 games, an unwanted Premier League record.

There were ironic jeers when Maddison found the bottom corner from the spot in the 81st minute after he had been caught by Joao Palhinha in the box.

Barnes’ 89th-minute strike made the scoreline look more respectable, but in truth the Foxes never looked like securing anything from the match.

Leicester could have gone three points clear of the drop zone with a win, but instead they remain 16th – level on points with Leeds and Nottingham Forest who are 17th and 18th.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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