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Championship Playoff Final tie confirmed as another club books place at Wembley

This year’s Championship Playoff Final tie has been confirmed as another club books a place at Wembley following the second semi final clash.

It comes after Thomas Frank’s Brentford advanced through as they came from behind on aggregate to beat Steve Cooper’s Swansea City.

Attentions turned to see if Fulham could keep a hold of their winning aggregate scoreline, which stood at 2-0 against Cardiff City.

The Whites seized control in the second half of that match in Wales, with a fine solo goal from Josh Onomah opening the scoring and Neeskens Kebano’s perfectly-flighted free-kick doubling the lead in injury time.

It was a cracking start to the second leg, with the Bluebirds getting themselves right back in this tie.

After just 9 minutes, Joe Ralls’ inswinging corner from the right was nodded in by centre-back Curtis Nelson at the back post. Fulham 0-1 Cardiff (2-1 agg)

Almost immediately after that, the Cottagers’ Bobby Decordova-Reid crossed low from the right and Neeskens Kebano was on the end of it in the box to restore Fulham’s two-goal advantage. Just 24 seconds after the restart.

After a dramatic start, the rest of the first half calmed down, Cardiff remained a threat with their set-pieces, Fulham giving them several opportunities.

Sean Morrison was adjudged to have handled the ball in the 35th minute, giving Fulham a free-kick midway inside the Cardiff half.

There was question whether it was intentional, nonetheless he was still awarded a yellow. Some fans online calling it harsh.

Cardiff needed inspiration if they wanted to get back in the game, and that’s what they went and did, two minutes into the second half.

Another long throw into the Fulham box caused chaos. Marek Rodak made a superb save from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s back-post header.

However the ball deflected towards goal off Michael Hector, and Lee Tomlin was there to spin and turn it in at the near post. Fulham 1-2 Cardiff (3-2 agg)

Neil Harris’ side continued with the dangerous set pieces, pushing on to get that all important equaliser.

On the 68th minute, Aboubakar Kamara hit a power shot from the outside of the box, only for Cardiff keeper Alex Smithies to go full stretch and tip the ball onto the inside of the post with his right hand.

The Welsh outfit continue to put pressure on the South West London club, however couldn’t get that all important goal, meaning Fulham booked a place with Brentford in the Championship playoff final at Wembley, with the game set to take place on the 4th of August.

Fulham captain Tom Cairney told Sky Sports: “It wasn’t pretty at all. It was the worst start you can think of.

“These 2-0 leads are a bit weird in your head. It feels comfortable but is not at the same time.

“We let ourselves down by not playing our normal game, and we invited pressure.

“But in the second half we dug in deep we got over the line.”

Liam Rosenior on Sky Sports: “I’m taking a breath up here after watching that. Neil Harris’ Cardiff – what a performance. They did everything but score. Fulham survived that and you can tell from the body language of the Fulham players compared to Brentford’s elation, it’s just pure relief for them. Cardiff pushed them so far and for them to do that after going 2-0 down in the first leg and playing away from home shows the character and resilience of Neil Harris’ men.

“Scott Parker is going to be one relieved man because it was an absolute bombardment with long throws and set plays but they got the job done and now they’re one game away from the Premier League.”

Jobi McAnuff on Sky Sports: “Look at Scott Parker getting this group of players together now. From his point of view, it will be trying to offset that disappointment because there was that look from some of the players because they lost tonight, but they’re through. That’s the difference with play-off games, it’s about being the better team over two legs, getting through it and getting to Wembley.

“Parker will want to move past this performance, which for large spells wasn’t at the level that he would want, but the result is the most important thing in these semi-finals and I’m sure that’s what he’s saying now.”

Fulham’s Michael Hector on Sky Sports Football: “With the hard work and dedication that we’ve put in, we deserve to be in the play-off final.

“In the recent game we played against Brentford here, we didn’t take our chances and they caught us cold at the end. But at Wembley, anything can happen. It’s a one-off game and we’re positive going into that.”

With the Championship Playoff Final tie confirmed as another club books place at Wembley, fans gave their reaction…

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