Cardiff City 0-2 Fulham, Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg: report, ratings and verdict

VS.

Cardiff City 4-2-3-1

0

2

Fulham 4-2-3-1

Half Time: 0 - 0 Cardiff City Stadium ( Attendance: NA )
1 min

Fulham took a massive step towards reaching the Championship Play-Off Final with an impressive 2-0 win at Cardiff City.

The Cottagers started nervous with the home side looking to take advantage early on as Leandro Bacuna’s thunderous strike was parried away by Fulham keeper Marek Rodak before a sensational Michael Hector tackle prevented Robert Glatzel from tapping home the rebound.

However, Fulham slowly began to settle and were very nearly rewarded with the lead just before half-time, with Tom Cairney attempting a trademark long range strike that fizzed an inch wide.

But four minutes into the second period the Cottagers did have their lead – a piece of individual magic from Josh Onomah saw him weave in and out of Cardiff’s defenders in the penalty area before cooly slotting home.

From then on Fulham were in total control and Scott Parker’s men finished the game off, and possibly the tie, in stoppage time as Neeskens Kebano curled in a sensational free-kick.

Key Points

Check out all the key talking points and reaction from London Football Scene below…

Key Moment

Michael Hector’s perfectly timed challenge to prevent a first-half Cardiff lead gave a nervy looking Fulham much-needed confidence to grow into the game.

Moan of the Match

Cardiff had an early flurry in the opening period but lacked any attacking rhythm and creative outlet Lee Tomlin was frustrated by a lack of movement from his front line.

Talking Point

Fulham boss Scott Parker took a calculated risk to rest Aleksandar Mitrovic in the hope of his return for the second leg – will his return now be delayed until the final?

Man of the Match

Josh Onomah – a faultless performance throughout and a goal that will certainly be remembered for a long time – simply perfect.

Tweet of the Match

Referee Watch

Geoff Eltringham (County Durham) – a good display from the experienced man in the middle, doing well to control such a high pressure game.

Atmosphere

A bouncing Cardiff City stadium would’ve helped boost the Bluebirds in their biggest game of the season, but instead the eerie empty stands serves as another reminder of the current climate.

Verdict

Fulham have faced criticism in the past for their heavy reliance on talisman Mitrovic, but tonight’s resounding performance without him proves they are more than just one player.

Line Ups

Cardiff City 4-2-3-1

Smithies; Bacuna, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett; Pack, Ralls; Mendez-Laing (Murphy, 70), Tomlin, Hoilett (Vaulks, 70); Glatzel (Ward, 70)

Subs not used:

Etheridge, Paterson, Bamba, Smith, Flint, Sanderson

Booked

Hoilett, Bacuna

Fulham 4-2-3-1

Rodak; Christie, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Reed, Cairney; Knockaert (Kamara, 81), Onomah, Kebano (Odoi, 90+1); Reid

Subs not used:

Bettinelli, Le Marchand, Mawson, Sessegnon, McDonald, Johansen, Jasper

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