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Match Report: Fulham edged out by Aston Villa ~ Prem MD 25 ~ 23/24

last updated Saturday 17th February 2024, 6:15 PM

Match Report

Fulham (0) 1-2 (1) Aston Villa

Premier League Match Day 25 23/24 at Craven Cottage

Saturday 17th February 2024    KO: 15:00

Referee: Lewis Smith (Lancashire)

Striker Rodrigo Muniz
Fulham striker
Rodrigo Muniz
Rodrigo Muniz
His Wiki page
Fulham were narrowly beaten 2-1 in a tightly contested battle with Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.

In a first half which saw three disallowed goals, it was Ollie Watkins’ strike that separated the sides at the break.

The England man doubled Villa’s lead after the restart, but the in-form Rodrigo Muniz pulled one back to make things interesting.

A draw would have been a deserved result for the Whites’ endeavour, but visiting goalkeeper Emi Martinez made big stops to deny substitutes Alex Iwobi and Adama Traoré.

The starting XI was the same as the one that began our victory over Bournemouth a week earlier, though the bench looked different. Armando Broja missed out through illness, but Calvin Bassey and Iwobi returned to the squad having helped Nigeria reach the AFCON Final.

Tom Cairney leads the side out against Aston Villa Villa had the ball in the net inside two minutes when Watkins slotted in, but Tim Ream and Timothy Castagne had played offside perfectly and the flag was duly raised.

From the free-kick, Fulham fashioned our first opening of the afternoon. After Antonee Robinson’s harrying won a corner, Bobby De Cordova-Reid nodded wide from Andreas Pereira’s near post delivery.

Match Stats Fulham Aston Villa
Goals (0)1 2 (1)
Scorers Muniz 63 Watkins 23
- Watkins 56
Goal attempts 15 12
On target 4 3
Shooting Accuracy 27% 25%
Possession 52% 48%
Passes 445 426
Passes Success 86% 85%
Crosses 30 10
Crosses Success 33% 30%
Corners 4 4
Tackles 14 11
Tackles Success 50% 64%
Saves 1 3
Fouls 11 6
Offsides 2 6
Yellows 5 2
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
Muniz’s hold-up play against Bournemouth had been impeccable, and he showed more of the same in the ninth minute to work a yard of space for himself, though he dragged his half volley wide on this occasion.

With three goals in two matches, Muniz’s confidence was sky high, as Clement Lenglet learnt when he was beaten to the ball on the blindside by the Brazilian, who then sent a well-hit volley just over.

It was Fulham’s turn to have the ball in the net when Ream smashed in having collected the ball from a free-kick, but unfortunately Castagne had strayed marginally offside before flicking on to his teammate.

There will have been frustrations in the home dressing room that Villa’s opener that followed came from a Fulham throw deep in our half, with Jacob Ramsey claiming the loose ball before feeding Watkins who spun his marker and finished smartly across Bernd Leno.

That was the first real threat we’d seen from the visitors, but the opener had clearly given them a boost, with Leon Bailey beating his man and crashing a 20 yarder against the crossbar.

Willian looked to fashion a way back into things for his side with a lovely cross towards Muniz. He got up between Pau Torres and Alex Moreno, but sent his header into the gloves of Martinez.

Before we had reached the 40 minute mark, there was a third disallowed goal. This time when Moreno went too early before nodding in Watkins’ flick at a corner.

Muniz did have Martinez beaten just before the break when he got a strong glance on an Andreas corner, but the ball flew just the wrong side of the far post.

Villa should have made it 2-0 in stoppage time when they won possession once more, but Leno made a big save to deny Youri Tielemans after Watkins had slid him in.

Iwobi had come on for Willian at the break and was involved in a promising early moment when he laid off to De Cordova-Reid, who saw a goal-bound shot blocked, but the flag had gone up in any case.

A simple goal then saw Villa double their advantage as Watkins ran onto Tielemans’ defence-splitting past and rifled across Leno.

Fulham were not done, though, as the collective determination of Robinson and Muniz pulled one back. Matty Cash looked favourite to see out Tom Cairney’s scooped pass, but Robinson got a toe on the ball to send it into the middle. Even then, Martinez looked set for an easy claim, but Muniz wanted it more and beat the goalkeeper to poke home.

That naturally buoyed the Cottage, with Muniz then seeing a shot blocked and substitute Harry Wilson volleying agonisingly off target from Andreas’ free-kick.

The Whites threatened an equaliser twice at the end of a swift counter-attack – first, Martinez denied Iwobi with his feet, before Wilson fired a shot a yard wide from the edge of the box.

Muniz was desperate to equalise for Fulham and might have done if Lenglet had not intercepted Iwobi’s ball across the face, or if Cash hadn’t deflected his left footer wide. Gallingly, a goal kick was awarded for the latter.

Our substitutes had had a significant impact on proceedings, and another one – Adama Traoré – almost restored parity as we entered stoppage time after running onto Muniz’s through ball, but Martinez spread himself well to deny the former Villa winger and what would have been a richly deserved share of the spoils.

Fulham : Leno, Castagne, Diop, Ream (Bassey 76), Robinson, Palhinha (Lukic 89), Cairney, De Cordova-Reid (Wilson 64), Pereira (Traore 75), Willian (Iwobi 45), Muniz

Unused substitutes: Rodak, Adarabioyo, Reed, Ballo-Toure

Muniz 64 (Antonee Robinson makes a tireless run down the left and prods the ball towards the near post, where Rodrigo Muniz is on hand to take advantage of a breakdown in communication to fire home.)

Booked: Palhinha (86,f), Castagne (89), Lukic (90,f), Traore (93,f), Wilson (94)

Aston Villa : Martinez, Cash, Lenglet, Torres, Moreno (Digne 81), Bailey (Diaby 81), McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey, Tielemans (Iroegbunam 94), Watkins

Unused substitutes: Chambers, Gauci, Zaniolo, Olsen, Rogers, Kesler-Hayden

Watkins 22 (Jacob Ramsey seizes on a poor throw, with the ball ricocheting off Willian into the path of Ollie Watkins, who stays composed, holds off Issa Diop and fires across Bernd Leno, into the bottom left corner. He celebrates in front of the Hammersmith End - he is ex-Brentford after all...)
Watkins 56 (Issa Diop loses track of Ollie Watkins, allowing Youri Tielemans to pick him out with a gorgeous ball that the striker doesn't need a second invitation to smash home with aplomb!)

Booked: McGinn (32,f), Moreno (74,f)

Referee: Lewis Smith (Lancashire)

Attendance: 24,401

Source Geoff Pruce at Fulham FC
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