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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Craven Cottage

Mitrovic the god of the River Thames weaves his magic as Fulham beat Brighton 2-1 at the Cottage

By Paul Lagan at Craven Cottage

22, 224 in attendance

Fulham 2 v Brighton 1

Aleksandar Mitrovic is a god to the fans of the club that lives by the River Thames and he scored the opener in a 2-1 win for the Whites at the Cottage tonight against Brighton.

The 27-year-old hitman was either up front, ploughing a lonely but decisive figure, keeping the Seagulls rearguard on their toes, or he was in the right-back position defending his team against one of many fluid attacks by the South Coast outfit.

But it was his goal just after half-time that set the tone for this bright, technical encounter.

An unfortunate own goal by Lewis Dunk extended Fulham’s lead seven minutes later before a justified penalty decision, prompted by VAR, saw Brighton back into the on 60 minutes.

The Serbian striker epitomised all that was needed as Fulham hung on gamely to snatch all three points against an impressive Brighton.

A fine glancing header by Joao, Palhinha on eight minutes, almost saw the first goal of the night. but Brighton’s goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, managed to parry the ball away from the goal, in-running Kenny Tete flashed his effort from the edge of the area over the crossbar.

Mitrovic had a long run on the left, on 19 minutes. He cut inside, took a couple of strides, but ran out of puff and his right-footed shot was weak, leaving Sanchez with the easiest of chances to pluck the ball into his grateful palms.

Brighton’s first effort of note fell on 29 minutes. Some intricate, one-touch play on the left, ended up with a daisy-cutter from Leandro Trossard, which Bernd Leno, dealt with effectively.

Mitrovic had another lung-busting run, starting from deep into his own half. He finally ran out of steam and secured a foul 25 yards out from goal.

Andreas Pereira tried a Ronaldo-esque free-kick. But his effort went straight into the stand behind Sanchez.

Some clever, intricate play by Brighton, six minutes from time, almost reaped dividends when the ball was finally driven into the six-yard box from the left. Solly March was unlucky that he couldn’t direct his header, goal bound.

It took the home side just three minutes to open the scoring as Brighton failed to deal with a corner. The ball was eventually whipped to the far post, and Mitrovic was on hand to slide a right-footer into the back of the empty net from close range.

Brighton composed themselves well and looked the most likely to score next, when on 56 minutes a quick counter-attack saw the Seagulls cut apart and as the ball was driven in again, centre back Lewis Dunk stretched out his left leg and directed the ball past Sanchez to double the home side’s lead.

VAR intervened three minutes later about a possible penalty as Bobby De Cordova-Read tried to clear the ball but he caught Pervis Estupinan instead. The ref was sent to the monitor and ruled a penalty.

Up stepped Alex Mac Allister who thumped the ball home to make it 2-1.

Brighton completely took over the running of the game, leaving Fulham to pick on the scraps.

Trossard forced a fine save from Leno on 70 minutes as Brighton got closer to an equaliser.

But Fulham opted for defence first, and the tactic paid off.

Even with the additional six minutes, the home side managed to break up the game wherever possible, and with the ball seemingly planted at the Brighton corner flag for many of those additional seconds, Fulham just about squeezed home with all the points.

Teams: Fulham, Leno, Tete, Tosin, Reed, Kebano, Mitrovic, Ream, De Cordova-Reid, Pereira, Palhinha, Robinson

Subs: Rodak, Cairney, Chalobah, Mblade, Francois, Stansfield

Brighton: Sanchez, Webster, Dunk, March, Mwepu, MacAllister, Trossard, Gross, Caicedo, Estupinan, Veltman

Subs: Steele, Lamptey, Colwell, Alzate, Welbeck, Enciso, Undav, Mitoma, Van Hecke

RefereeThomas Bramall


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