Fulham 0-2 Brentford: Late brace gives Bees crucial three points in London derby
Said Benrahma celebrates after giving Brentford the lead/Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The EFL Championship resumed Saturday morning with a crunch clash as Brentford topped Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage to move within one point of their hosts and seven points of second place.

Played behind closed doors due to the restrictions put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic, Said Benrahma and Emiliano Marcondes scored two minutes apart to put the Bees on 63 points while the Cottagers remain at 64.

Scoreless first half sees both teams with chances

Fulham made a bright start, Neeskens Kabano and Tom Cairney combining for some neat buildup play to set up Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose effort from 12 yards out beat Brentford goalkeeper David Raya, but not the crossbar.

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The Championship's leading scorer had another go, but his long-range strike lacked any power. Anthony Knockaert was next to have a go, his curler from 25 yards fading past Raya's far post. Brentford then began to assert themselves for the remainder of the half.

Benrahma's shot was blocked and Ollie Watkins provided Josh Dasilva with an opportunity although he slipped at the key moment, his diving header handled easily by Fulham keeper Marek Rodak. The Bees best chance of the half was authored by Tarique Fosu, his shot met by Rodak at his near post.

Benrahma had his next chance blocked after some neat work by Watkins set him up and Christian Norgaard saw his chance deflect wide. Henrik Dalsgaard couldn't pick out a pass from the penalty area and Watkins met Fosu's cross, but his header was hit the wrong side of the post.

Brentford capitalize late on after disallowed Fulham goal

Fulham thought they had taken the lead in the 53rd minute after a fine dummy by Decordova-Reid set up Denis Odoi who found Mitrovic with a cross, the Serb slotting past Raya only to see the linesman's offside flag go up. The Cottagers had further chances, Odoi's shot going wide and Joe Bryan hitting the wall from a free kick.

Cairney was proving to be a danger man in the buildup play and he picked out Mitrovic, whose header was only kept out by a brilliant save from Raya just past the hour mark. The Spaniard kept out a further effort from Mitrovic and following the drinks break, the visitors took control.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank introduced Shandon Baptiste and Marcondes, which allowed Dasilva to play further upfield. Watkins slashed inside only to fire wide, Dalsgaard doing the same from distance before Dasilva lashed a shot that left Rodak untroubled. Benrahma had a go from a free kick, but the result was the same as the previous three.

Marcondes made his first contribution of the match by sending in a corner for Ethan Pinnock, Odoi's excellent defensive work taking the sting out of the attempt, but he was caught out two minutes from time.

Norgaard played the key pass as he found Marcondes in space in the right channel, the Dane measuring a cross that Benrahma beat Odoi to and he nodded past Rodak to give Brentford the lead. Mitrovic had a chance to level, but his effort was deflected away.

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The visitors soon wrapped up all three points in stoppage time as Benrahma picked out Marcondes, who broke free, cut back inside the penalty area and blasted past Rodak to revitalize the Bees' automatic promotion hopes.

Man of the Match

Marcondes: his introduction to the game gave Brentford that extra edge in first setting up Benrahma then putting the contest away with a delightful passage of play. Although only on for 20 minutes, his contributions made the difference for a Bees team that look to be a real threat for promotion.

Takeaways

Brentford are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the division as they have creative forces all over the pitch who can lift the team at a moment's notice while Fulham failed to capitalize on their chances before and after Mitrovic's goal was rightfully disallowed.

The bigger picture is that the Bees have joined the Cottagers in search of catching Leeds United and/or West Bromwich Albion and the next round of fixtures sees Brentford face West Brom while Fulham square off with Leeds. Those matches could potentially tell us a lot more about where the finish of this season is headed.

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