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Fulham come back from the dead against Brighton ~ Match Report Prem Md24

last updated Wednesday 30th January 2019, 10:29 AM

Match Report

Fulham (0) 4-2 (2) Brighton and Hove Albion

Premier League Match Day 24 at Craven Cottage

Saturday 8th December 2018    KO: 19:45

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Aleksandar Mitrovic
Fulham Striker
Aleksandar Mitrovic
Aleksandar Mitrovic
His Wiki page
For a team sucked deep into the frozen depths of relegation, what could warm the cockles more than a feverish comeback?

At half-time, trailing 2-0 as sleet turned to snow Claudio Ranieri looked on grimly from beneath the hood of his coat.

After that Fulham became the embodiment of the adage that attack is the best form of defence – just as well, really, to breathe new hope into the challenge of Premier League survival.

“These three points mean we are alive,” Ranieri said. “We could see a little light in front of us.”

This was the latest in a series of must-win games for Ranieri’s team and until now fans had been watching through their fingers with a gnawing sense of dread in their gut.

Defender Calum Chambers
Fulham Defender
Calum Chambers
Calum Chambers
His Wiki page
All that gloom was transformed into euphoria as Fulham’s avalanche of second-half goals had a reviving effect.

In a blazing second period Aleksandar Mitrovic was in one of his unplayable moods, winning aerial balls like a kid reaching into the sky to catch bubbles.

Luciano Vietto came on, made a nuisance of himself and scored his first goal for the club.

Tom Cairney orchestrated with a classy touch.

Ryan Babel earned particular praise from his manager for the way he used his experience to show his teammates how to find their forward momentum.

It was, as Ranieri explained, “a very strange game” in that dominance swung in such an extreme way.

Fulham striker Luciano Vietto
Fulham striker
Luciano Vietto
Luciano Vietto
His Wiki page
Brighton were so comfortably in front early on there seemed no obvious way back for the hosts.

Fulham’s plight has not been helped by the worrying number of goals conceded this season – they went into this game with the worst defensive record of any team in Europe’s five major leagues – and they haemorrhaged two more in the opening 17 minutes.

Both were snaffled by the evergreen Glenn Murray, who even had the chance to grab a first half hat-trick, such was Brighton’s supremacy.

The gravity of the situation called for a tactical substitution midway through the first half, Cairney introduced as part of a reshuffle.

For a team incapable of defending, there was no option than to engage in a shooting match.

Match Stats Fulham Brighton
Goals (0) 4 2 (2)
Scorers Chambers 47 Murray 3
Mitrovic 58 Murray 17
Mitrovic 75
Vietto 79
Goal attempts 24 15
On target 7 6
Shooting Accuracy 29% 40%
Possession 62% 38%
Passes 619 382
Passes Success 85% 74%
Crosses 33 22
Crosses Success 24% 32%
Corners 10 1
Tackles 6 14
Tackles Success 100% 29%
Saves 4 3
Fouls 10 5
Offsides 1 1
Yellows 2 3
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
“Believe me, in that moment I said it’s much better at the beginning than at the end like [Sunday’s last-minute defeat] against Tottenham when you don’t have time to react.

We reacted immediately.”

They seized a lifeline early in the second half when Calum Chambers connected with Mitrovic’s knock-down and smacked the ball low past Ryan.

The Craven Cottage crowd dug deep into their well of optimism and allowed themselves to believe in something. Anything.

The chances came in a flurry and when a long ball fell in the vicinity of Mitrovic, the hulking striker beat two markers and Ryan to make sure he won the ball and nodded into the net.

This critical game hung in the balance and though Fulham rode their luck when Rico saved a header from the unmarked Murray, the keeper’s teammates took it as the signal to come on strong again.

Joe Bryan did the sensible thing by standing his cross up for Mitrovic, who again won the aerial battle to seal a remarkable turnaround.

They are used to seeing defenders at odds with one another here but this time it was Brighton’s pair of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk arguing as their team fell apart, put under pressure by Fulham’s commitment to attack.

“It was not like us,” said Chris Hughton, who was surprised and not a little angered by an uncharacteristic implosion.

“As good as we were in the first half we were as poor in second.

We found it hard to cope and needed to work harder.

Of course I was angry to be leading 2-0 and concede four goals in one half.”

The roar when Vietto gave Fulham breathing space after Cairney struck the bar was visceral, immense. They have not had too many moments like that at Fulham this season. Now they need a few more.

Fulham: Rico, Odoi, Le Marchand, Ream (Cairney 27), Christie, Chambers, Seri, Bryan (R Sessegnon 77), Schurrle (Vietto 45), Mitrovic, Babel

Unused substitutes: Bettinelli, Kebano, Cisse, Ayite

Chambers 47 (right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner following a corner.)
Mitrovic 58(header from very close range to the centre of the goal following a corner.)
Mitrovic 74(header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Joe Bryan with a cross.)
Vietto 79( header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Ryan Babel.)

Booked: Seri (36,f), Babel (87,f)

Brighton and Hove Albion: Ryan, Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bong, Gross (Andone 77), Stephens, Propper, March, Murray, Locadia (Knockaert 71)

Unused substitutes: Button, Bruno, Burn, Kayal, Bissouma

Murray 3 (right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Martín Montoya with a cross.)
Murray 17 ( left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Pascal Groß.)

Booked: Stephens (26,f), Duffy (36,f), Dunk (75,d)

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Attendance: 22,008

Source Amy Lawrence at The Guardian
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