Fulham promoted to Premier League - Footy Dreams

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Fulham promoted to Premier League

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Fulham earned promotion to the Premier League on Tuesday thanks to an outrageous free-kick and composed finish by Joe Bryanduring extra time of a nervy playoff final with Brentford.

A quick set-piece in the 105th minute by the Cottagers’ left-back caught out Brentford goalkeeper David Raya from at least 40 yards before Bryan – who last scored in September – made it 2-0 following a tidy one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Henrik Dalsgaard grabbed a late goal for Brentford but there was no time to overcome the first double of Bryan’s professional career. Fulham had booked an instant return to the top flight following their disastrous relegation in the 2018-19 season.

“I’m not the hero, every single one of them, fans and people around us who has been with us all season is,” Bryan told Sky Sports after the final whistle.

“We’ve been written off five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 times, I think I read somewhere we were supposed to be scared of them.”

Fulham, as is often the case, had the most possession in the opening period while Brentford lacked the usual zip in their play. There were few genuine chances for either side, with the biggest talking point provided by Harrison Reed‘s yellow card for a committed challenge on Christian Norgaard. If there were fans in the stands, the ones backing Brentford would’ve been calling for Reed’s dismissal – and with some justification.

The nerves that regularly stifle Championship playoff finals were evident in the second half as well. Increasing pressure from Brentford may have prompted Scott Parker’s first Fulham change when he brought on Anthony Knockaertin the 81st minute. Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Championship’s top scorer who missed the semifinals through injury, seemed to warm up for an eternity before he was introduced minutes before the match entered extra time.

The game opened up and errors became likelier as the players tired in the additional 30 minutes. Tempers also began to fray, with Mitrovic pushing Emiliano Marcondes down by the throat during a set-piece. There is no doubt that the Serbian striker would’ve been dismissed if there was video review.

But, after referee Martin Atkinson calmed the players down, Fulham scored from the same set-piece. Bryan later said he followed instructions from Parker when he ambitiously aimed for the near post, and the execution was perfect as it caught out Raya. The Brentford shot-stopper was anticipating a lofted ball toward the huddle of players in front of him rather than an effort on his mesh.

Bryan’s second goal occurred while Brentford were piling bodies forward for an equalizer. The defender angled a run into the center, exchanged passes with Mitrovic, and executed a slick finish into the bottom corner.

There was barely time for kickoff after Dalsgaard converted his 124th-minute header.

“I can’t put it into words. It feels special. We got written off a bit this year, no one talked about us, they talked about Brentford and Leeds,” Fulham captain Tom Cairney shared with Sky Sports. “It shows the spirit in the dressing room, not many teams bounce back up.”

With the win, Fulham joined Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion as the three clubs to clinch promotion to the Premier League in 2019-20.

Brentford narrowly missed out on automatic promotion during the regular Championship season, but they will now enter their 74th year without top-flight football.

Source: thescore.com

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