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Fulham visit Cardiff City ~ Match Preview Play-Off Semi-Final first leg

last updated Sunday 26th July 2020, 4:59 PM

Match Preview

Fulham away at Cardiff City

Sky Bet Championship: Play-Off Semi-Final first leg
at Cardiff City Stadium

Monday 27th July 2020    KO: 19:45

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham)

Fulham Coach Scott Parker
Fulham Coach
Scott Parker
Scott Parker
His Wiki page
Cardiff City manager Neil Harris
Cardiff City Coach
Neil Harris
His Wiki page

Two sides looking to make an immediate return to the Premier League will lock horns on Monday as Cardiff City and Fulham meet for the first leg of their Championship playoff semi-final at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Eight points separated the two sides at the end of the regular season, with Fulham finishing fourth and Cardiff securing fifth spot on the final day.

It hasn't always been pretty, but Fulham have been almost unbeatable since the restart in June with their ability to grind out the right results at the right time.

They got back under way with two defeats, which ultimately knocked them from top-two contention but have conceded just five goals in the seven games since.

Fulham missed the chance to capitalise on Brentford's loss to Barnsley as they played out a 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic last time out.

Before a ball was kicked on the final day, Fulham were still in with a shout of automatic promotion as they sat two points behind second-placed West Bromwich Albion, but the standings ultimately remained the same as the Baggies drew with Queens Park Rangers and Fulham finished behind Brentford on goal difference.

Nevertheless, the Cottagers are entering the first leg of the semi-final on a seven-game unbeaten streak in the Championship - winning five of them - and Fulham will be looking for a repeat of their success in the 2017-18 campaign where they defeated Aston Villa 1-0 in the playoff final.

Fulham and Cardiff last met as recently as July 10, and it was the Cottagers who took the spoils in that fixture courtesy of goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Josh Onomah.

Neil Harris's men comfortably swept aside relegated Hull City 3-0 on the final day of the season and ought to feel optimistic about their chances of advancing to the final at Wembley.

Following the appointment of Harris after Neil Warnock left the club, Cardiff have gone from strength to strength in the Championship and have only tasted defeat three times on home soil all season.

The Bluebirds are heading into the playoffs in a strong spell of form - having enjoyed victories over Derby County and Middlesbrough before their final-day triumph over Hull - with champions Leeds United the only other team to bag nine points from their last three fixtures.

Cardiff are now aiming to reach the Championship playoff final for only the second time in the club's history, with Blackpool overcoming the Bluebirds 3-2 at Wembley ten years ago.
Head to head

  • Cardiff City have managed to win just one of their last 11 matches with Fulham in all competitions (D5 L5), a 4-2 win when both sides were in the Premier League in 2018-19.

  • Fulham remained unbeaten during the regular season against Cardiff City, winning 2-0 at home earlier this month after a 1-1 draw at the Cardiff City stadium back in August.


  • Since their 0-3 defeat at Leeds back in June, Fulham finished the regular season with a seven-game unbeaten run (W5 D2) – their longest such run of the campaign.

  • Fulham will enter the Championship playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons, losing out to Reading in the semi-finals in 2017, before earning promotion via this method in 2018 after beating Aston Villa at Wembley.

  • Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has finished the Championship campaign with the most number of goals (26); indeed, despite playing the entire 2018-19 campaign in the Premier League, only Jarrod Bowen (41) and Lewis Grabban (44) have scored more league goals in the second tier than the Serbian (38) since his debut for Fulham in February 2018.

  • Fulham has lost just 4 of their last 20 away league games.

Cardiff City

  • Only Leeds and Brentford (7) won more matches since the Championship restarted than Cardiff City (6), who come into the playoffs on the back of a three-game winning run.

  • Cardiff City have lost five of their last six Championship playoff matches (D1), failing to score a single goal in each of their last four, with this their first playoff campaign since 2012 (0-5 aggregate defeat by West Ham).

  • Robert Glatzel has scored three goals in his last eight Cardiff City appearances, just one fewer than the striker managed in his previous 22 league matches beforehand (4).

  • As a manager, Neil Harris has progressed to the final of the playoffs in each of the two previous campaigns he has qualified, losing out to Paul Heckingbottom’s Barnsley in 2016 and beating Stuart McCall’s Bradford City in 2017 – both with Millwall in League One.

  • Cardiff has won under half of their last 20 home league games.

Source Ben Knapton at Sports Mole/SkySports
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