Fulham are back in the Premier League after defender Joe Bryan’s brace earned them a 2-1 victory against Brentford in the Championship playoff final.
After a pretty eventful 90 minutes, the match was forced into extra-time before Bryan’s quick-thinking from a set-piece caught Brentford goalkeeper David Raya napping.
Bryan was 40 yards out when he spotted Raya out of position as he produced an incredible effort to catch him out.
In truth, the game didn’t deserve a goal of that quality.
Then, with just three minutes remaining in second half of extra-time, he played a brilliant one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic, to finish calmly past Raya to send Fulham back to the Premier League.
Did you know the Championship playoff final is the richest game in football?
Someone should have mentioned it.
The game is worth around £160 million for the winner as they gain promotion to the riches of the Premier League.
Brentford missed out on automatic promotion after losing their final two matches of the regular season against Stoke and Barnsley. It turns out a win in either of those games would have been enough to see them finish second ahead of West Brom.
And after the Bees lost the first leg of their semi-final against Swansea, it looked as though their chances of returning to the top-flight for the first time in 73 years was over.
However, in their final match at Griffin Park, they beat the Swans 3-1 to book their place at Wembley.
As for Fulham, they finished level on points with Brentford in fourth having finished the campaign unbeaten in seven.
A narrow 3-2 victory over Cardiff in their playoff semi-final saw them reach Wembley.
In truth, it was a terrible final at Wembley with both sides clearly feeling the pressure of the occasion.
Brentford’s front-three of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins – who scored 59 goals between them in the league this season – were kept very quiet by Fulham’s stubborn defence.
After a drab 90 minutes and first 15 minutes of extra-time, it looked as though penalties would be the only way to settle this match.
That was until Bryan’s incredible 40-yard free-kick caught David Raya out to give Fulham the lead.
Then Bryan put the icing on the cake with another superb finish following a one-two with Mitrovic.
Brentford did pull back a late goal though Henrik Dalsgaard but it wasn’t enough for the Bees as Fulham return to the Premier League.
- Leeds in the market to sign Premier League striker
- West Ham lining up move for La Liga flop
- Video of Roy Keane’s best moments from the 2019/20 Premier League season