Late Aleksandar Mitrovic header powers Cottagers to victory

A late Aleksandar Mitrovic header powered Fulham to an entertaining 3-2 victory over Brentford in the west London derby.

Marco Silva’s side raced out of the blocks to leave the Bees stunned inside 20 minutes, but goals from Christian Norgaard and Ivan Toney either side of the interval brought Brentford back on level terms.

However, Mitrovic – who passed up a glorious opportunity earlier in the second half – had the last laugh as he powered a header beyond David Raya in the Brentford goal in the 90th minute.

The Cottagers opened the scoring inside a minute when Bobby De Cordova-Reid reacted first from a Jay Stansfield strike. Mitrovic’s pull-back was initially missed by the Fulham forward, but he bundled home the rebound after Stansfield’s effort struck the bar.

Silva’s men then doubled their advantage inside 20 minutes. Andreas Pereira’s corner from the right was met by the rising Joao Palhinha who powered his header over Raya and into the back of the net.

Fulham were in cruise control as Reid almost grabbed his second of the afternoon minutes later, travelling forward before sending an early strike that missed the target.

However, the hosts were pegged back on the stroke of the interval after a well-worked set-piece move from Brentford. Mathias Jensen clipped a corner to the near post where Norgaard struck first time inside the post to halve the deficit.

Thomas Frank’s side thought they had levelled proceedings shortly after the restart when Ivan Toney fired past Bernd Leno with a driven effort, but VAR ruled that the Bees forward had strayed offside collecting Rico Henry’s pass.

Fulham then ought to have restored their two-goal advantage when Norgaard presented Mitrovic with a gift inside the Brentford penalty area. However, Raya spared his teammates’ blushes when he pushed the forward’s effort wide of the post.

And the Serbian international was made to rue his miss moments later as Toney completed the comeback for the Bees. Yoane Wissa proved the architect as he strode down the right-hand side, with Toney meeting his dangerous cut-back across the penalty area on the stretch.

However, Mitrovic would have the final say for Fulham with just minutes remaining. The forward rose to meet Kevin Mbabu’s delivery, leaving Bryan Mbeumo in his wake as he bulleted a header into the bottom corner to secure a priceless derby triumph for the Cottagers.

Player of the Match: Andreas Pereira

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