Fulham faced off against Aston Villa at the Wembley Stadium in the English Championship playoff final looking to secure a victory on the day and earn a promotion back to the Premier League. The Cottagers began the match on the front foot and scored the opening goal of the contest in the 23rd minute when Ryan Sessegnon set up Tom Cairney with a well-weighted pass. The Scottish international made no mistake from close range and finished with ease and grace. Slaviša Jokanović’s men kept up the pressure but were unable to build on their narrow lead in the first-half.
Steve Bruce’s side started the second half on a positive note but the Fulham backline defended valiantly to deny them. However, they got a break in the 70th minute when Denis Odoi was sent off for a rash challenge. The Cottagers hung on to grind out a narrow 1-0 win and book a place in the English top-flight next term.
Let’s take a look at how each Fulham player performed during the contest against the Villans.
GK: Marcus Bettinelli – 6/10
He had a nervy moment in the first half when his clearance was almost intercepted by the Villa attackers. The Fulham goalie came back strong and pulled off an important save in the second half to deny Jack Grealish from close range.
RB: Ryan Fredericks – 6.5/10
He tried his best to provide an outlet down the right flank. The Fulham right-back delivered some good crosses during the second half before being subbed by Jokanovic.
CB: Denis Odoi – 3/10
He got sent off for a reckless challenge on Grealish which left his team with a mountain to climb in the final twenty minutes of the game.
CB: Tim Ream – 7/10
He had a good game in the Fulham backline and defended valiantly to secure a clean-sheet on the day.
LB: Matt Targett – 6/10
The Cottagers left-back coped well defensively but failed to make an impact in the opposition half.
CM: Tom Cairney – 9/10
The Scotsman was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. He kept the ball well and made some excellent passes to open up the Villa defence time and time again. Cairney’s opening goal turned out to be the difference and helped Fulham earn a place back in the top tier of English football.
CM: Kevin McDonald – 7/10
He put in a hard-working shift at the centre of the park and did well to break up some of the Villa attacks in the second half.
CM: Stefan Johansen – 6/10
He made a good start to the contest but ran out of gas in the second half and was rightfully subbed by Jokanovic ahead of the final quarter of the game.
RW: Aboubakar Kamara – 8/10
The talented forward made some darting runs down the right flank. He was excellent for the Cottagers and caused a lot of problems for the Villa defenders.
ST: Aleksandar Mitrovic – 6/10
The Serbian worked hard for his team but lacked the cutting edge in front of goal.
LW: Ryan Sessegnon – 7.5/10
The 17-year-old set up Cairney with a perfect pass in the 23rd minute which ultimately helped his team earn a promotion.
CM: Oliver Norwood – 7/10
He came off the bench to help his side cope with the pressure of the Villa attacks. The midfielder made a match-saving tackle in the 79th minute to deny the Villans a great goal-scoring opportunity.
CB: Tomas Kalas – 6/10
He came off the bench to see out a narrow win for the Cottagers.
RB: Cyrus Christie – 6/10
He did enough to keep things tight at the back in the final few minutes of the contest.
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