Fulham 2-0 Cardiff: Aleksandar Mitrovic and Josh Onomah fire Cottagers in third | Football News

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Highlights from the Sky Championship match between Fulham and Cardiff.

Highlights from the Sky Championship match between Fulham and Cardiff.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored on his return for Fulham as they climbed to third in the championship with a 2-0 victory over Cardiff.

Fulham kept their slim hopes of automatic promotion as Mitrovic’s penalty and Josh Onomah’s effort in each half secured their victory at Craven Cottage on Friday night, placing them within four points of West Brom in second and five behind Leeds – with these two teams playing later on the weekend.

For Cardiff, however, it was a blow to their play-off hopes. They remain sixth, but just one point ahead of Swansea and three ahead of Preston and Derby. All three could exceed them but exceed them at the end of this round of matches.

Mitrovic returns to lead Fulham to victory

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his 24th goal of the season from the penalty spot for Fulham

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his 24th goal of the season from the penalty spot for Fulham

Fulham had won all three games in which Mitrovic had been suspended for his elbow against Ben White in their loss to Leeds, but there was no doubt that Scott Parker would send him directly – even if he gave him the armband.

And over 35 minutes, he paid off that faith, winning a penalty over Dion Sanderson when he was shot into the area, before sending the ball into the upper corner from 12 meters – his 24th of the season for him give a step ahead of Ollie Watkins in the Golden Boot race.

While Alex Smithies had no chance with the penalty, he managed a superb stop over 42 minutes to refuse a second to Fulham. Bobby Decordova-Reid picked up the ball 25 yards out and sent a shot that seemed intended for the top corner, only for Smithies to jump to his left to tip it over the bar.

At halftime, Decordova-Reid should have put Fulham two in the lead, but sent a wide head at close range after a brilliant center from Anthony Knockaert into the penalty area.

Cardiff, who himself hit the bar soon after falling behind Joe Ralls’ push, again pushed for an equalizer after the break, but it was Fulham who knocked next to double his lead over 66 minutes.

It was smart work from Onomah as he played a one-two with substitute Stefan Johansen, receiving the ball from a smart pass in the box, before taking a hit and driving a stocking in the bottom corner . After that, there was no return for Cardiff.

Talking points: Should there have been a Hector red card and another Fulham penalty?

Michael Hector and Callum Paterson exchange words after a second period meeting

Michael Hector and Callum Paterson exchange words after a second period meeting

Cardiff should have wondered how Fulham defender Michael Hector avoided a red card after a match with Callum Paterson after 58 minutes, but referee Gavin Ward chose to just show him the yellow card. A layoff could have changed the game to the point with just one goal in it.

If Fulham hadn’t won the game, however, they might have felt aggrieved by what they thought should have been a certain penalty after 63 minutes – just three minutes before their second goal.

It appeared that Curtis Nelson had clearly handballed a center from Joe Bryan, before Will Vaulks tripped Mitrovic while he was trying to follow up, but in both cases the referee wavered their protests while Decordova- Reid then shot the bar.

Mitrovic (L) requests penalty after feeling he was knocked down in the area

Mitrovic (L) requests penalty after feeling he was knocked down in the area

Man of the Match – Harrison Reed

During the first half hour when Fulham was not at the races, Reed kept his side in a sort of Cardiff control as the outside camp dominated. Without him, they may well have fallen behind when under pressure. It was a crucial, if underestimated, performance by the midfielder.

What the manager said …

2:29
Fulham manager Scott Parker praised his team’s work as they closed the gap on automatic promotion spots with a 2-0 victory over Cardiff in the Sky Bet Championship.

Fulham manager Scott Parker praised his team’s work as they closed the gap on automatic promotion spots with a 2-0 victory over Cardiff in the Sky Bet Championship.

Fulham’s Scott Parker: “Three points are essential at this time of the season, and a third blank sheet on the rebound. When you play against a team like Cardiff, you are going to be put under extreme pressure, and sometimes the ball is put in the right areas and it becomes a bit of an attack.

“You have to defend your box very well and I thought we were defending set shots and limiting them to a lot of long balls and second balls, which we managed very well. I would have liked to be better on the ball, but the message was again a blank sheet of paper and a job done. ”

3:35
Cardiff manager Neil Harris disappointed with Fulham’s first half penalty in 2-0 loss to London but admits Scott Parker’s team ahead of match and deserved the victory.

Cardiff manager Neil Harris disappointed with Fulham first half penalty in 2-0 loss to London but admits Scott Parker’s team ahead of match and deserved the victory.

Cardiff’s Neil Harris: “It was disappointing to lose the match because there was not much. In the first half, I thought Fulham omitted it, but in the second half, we had a good performance. But it was beautiful lines.

“I was disappointed to concede the penalty. The experience outweighed a bit of naivety at the back post, but I thought it was cheap. But then we could have gotten away with one in the second half.

“We played with a lot of bravery in the second half, but we didn’t do enough in the penalty area, and that’s where the games are won and lost. Fulham was better in both areas. “

And after?

The two sides are back in action on Tuesday. Fulham heads to West Brom to kick off at 5 p.m. live on Sky Sports Football, while Cardiff greets Derby for a kickoff at 7:45 p.m.

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