Fulham 1-2 Cardiff City (Agg: 3-2): Kebano sends Fulham to the play-off final despite defeat to Cardiff
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Fulham are heading to Wembley Stadium to face Brentford in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final, despite losing 2-1 to Cardiff City at Craven Cottage in the second leg of their play-off semi-final as they progressed 3-2 on aggregate. 

Neeskens Kebano's first half goal sent Scott Parker's men to the home of football despite goals from Curtis Nelson and Lee Tomlin gave Neil Harris' side the victory on the night.

  • Story of the game

First Half

The first chance of the game fell the way to the visitors, a long throw from Will Vaulks saw Marek Rodak tip over and out for a throw, moments later Cardiff took the lead.

Joe Ralls sent a corner in from the right and defender Nelson headed beyond Rodak to give the visitors an early lead.

The lead didn't last long, 24 seconds to be precise, Bobby Decordova-Reid was given too much space down the Fulham right and his cross was perfect for Kebano who slammed the ball home to level the scores inside the opening ten minutes of the contest.

Cardiff then won a free-kick following a foul on Junior Hoilett under pressure from both Joe Bryan and Harrison Reed, Rodak came and punched the set-piece clear.

Fulham then won a corner following good work from Anthony Knockaert who sees an effort blocked, Marlon Pack manages to clear into the path of Tom Cairney whose effort is also blocked, Josh Onomah takes aim but his effort goes over the bar.

The hosts went close again just two minutes later, Bryan's cross caused problems as Cyrus Christie arrived to fire a low drive towards goal which, somehow, Cardiff manage to get clear.

Knockaert played a defence splitting pass around 10 minutes before half-time, however, just as it looked as Decordova-Reid was going to get on the end of it, Smithies does well to save.

Before Knockaert forced Smithies into a save after a good ball from Cairney, shortly after, Sean Morrison went into the book after a foul which saw Fulham win a free-kick, which nothing came from.

Cardiff went close after striker Danny Ward fired an effort from distance which went over the bar, at the other end, Reed fired an effort which was deflected into the arms from Smithies.

In first half stoppage time, Knockaert tried a smart dink over the top of Smithies but the former Huddersfield Town goalkeeper was alert to the danger, before Knockaert sent an effort over the bar.

Second Half:

The first chance of the second half arrived and the visitors got back into the tie, another long-throw from Vaulks caused problems as Nathaniel Mendez-Laing towered an header towards goal and Rodak pushed the ball away into the path of Tomlin who volleyed home following some poor defending from Michael Hector. 

Fulham's first chance of the second half came when Reed fired an effort into the arms of Smithies following good work from Cairney, took bookings followed the chance, Decordova-Reid was booked for blocking Smithies' effort when he tried to reach the ball, meanwhile, Vaulks was booked for a challenge on Reed.

Knockaert fired wide from the free-kick failing to trouble Smithies in the Cardiff goal.

Cardiff went close after good link-up play between Tomlin and Mendez-Laing, which the former takes advantage of a slip by Christie before Josh Murphy directed a tame header on goal which Rodak claimed.

Cardiff went close again when Leandro Bacuna delivered an inviting cross from the right to the far post, however, the sliding Ward couldn't reach the effort.

Cardiff then won a free-kick following a foul by Bryan, the set-piece was delivered, however, neither Vaulks nor another Cardiff player could reach the ball, Rodak was then booked for time wasting.

Fulham won a free-kick after Ralls brought down Cairney in a promising position and goes into the referees note book, from the free-kick, Cairney fired the effort wide of the target.

Smithies then made a good stop to keep out a rasping drive from Aboubakar Kamara after he cut inside from the left flank, before the Fulham striker saw another effort come crashing out after striking the post.

Moments later, Christie committed a cynical foul on Murphy and his name was taken by the match official, before Rodak does well to tip an effort over the bar.

Christie went close for Fulham but his effort was blocked en route to goal which made Smithies' save a comfortable one.

Nelson does well to divert an effort from Kamara behind for a corner, nothing came from the corner, however soon after, Mendez-Laing worked a large pocket of space but his effort goes wide of the target.

Onomah was another name which went into the referee's note book, following a challenge which stopped Cardiff from breaking.

The final chance of the game saw Callum Paterson's header drop into the path of Glatzel whose volley goes over the bar.

  • Teams

Fulham: Rodak, Christie, Hector, Ream, Bryan (Le Marchand 90), Reed, Cairney, Knockaert (Odoi 76), Onomah, Kebano (Kamara 46), Reid.

Subs (not used): Bettinelli, Mawson, Sessegnon, McDonald, Johansen, Cavaleiro.

Cardiff:  Smithies, Bacuna, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett, Pack (Mendez-Laing 46), Vaulks, Ralls, Murphy (Paterson 81), Hoilett (Tomlin 46, Whyte 84), Ward (Glatzel 71).

Subs (not used): Etheridge, Sanderson, Bamba, Smith.

  • Man of the Match

Marek Rodak (Fulham):

Despite being on the losing side this evening, Rodak made some great saves as Fulham progressed into the Championship play-off final, some of the saves were key as he kept Fulham in the lead throughout the tie.