Fulham promoted after 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in Championship Playoff final
Ten-man Fulham were able to hold onto a 1-0 win thanks to a Tom Cairney strike in the first half.
The Premier League awaits Fulham for the first time since the 2013-14 season as they beat Aston Villa in a heated encounter at Wembley.
Villa were left to rue some missed chances, with Jack Grealish particularly guilty.
Fulham executed a perfect tactical plan in the first half as they nullified Villa and dominated possession. Ryan Sessegnon threaded the needle superbly for Tom Cairney to score the only goal of the game on 23 minutes.
However, Steve Bruce sent his team out with renewed vigour in the second half and they dominated proceedings from there.
Denis Odoi was then sent off for a second yellow on 70 minutes after he fouled Grealish – but the London side could hold on for a crucial victory.
First half key
Often in these high-pressure games, the winner can be determined from who starts the brightest.
In this game, Jokanovic was able to get his tactics spot on as his possession game suffocated Bruce’s boys in the first half.
Mitrovic lead the line superbly while Cairney, Johansen, and Sessegnon continued to torment the Villa defence.
For Villa, these early struggles left them without any momentum and they struggled to create any real opportunities during the first period.
Missed chances for Villa
While the first half belonged to Fulham, the second most certainly was dominated by the Villains.
Bruce must have put a rocket up his team as their intensity rose considerably and their creativity increased tenfold.
Grealish perhaps had the best opportunities but he could not get past Bertinelli in the Fulham goal.
The red-card for Fulham left them with a lot to do and a Villa onslaught seemed inevitable, but to the credit of the Cottagers, they rarely looked troubled during the final 20 minutes of the game.
Fulham edged the game in most areas, with more shots, shots on target, corners, and possession. For Villa, this will feel like a missed opportunity.
What they said
“A lot of people gave us a bit of stick but football won today, football won. It’s been a hard season for me, I’ve been playing all season not fully fit. I’ve had to miss a lot of training sessions to get through games, the manager said he needed me so I’ve played.”
“It’s been a fantastic season and to top it off for promotion, there’s nothing better than that.”
“Unbelievable, a dream come true. We have brought this club back to where it should be and we’re very proud. I’m so tired right now, like never in my life, I swear. I can’t feel my legs.”
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