HomePremier LeagueMitrovic nets winner as Fulham sink Brentford 3-2 in derby thriller

Mitrovic nets winner as Fulham sink Brentford 3-2 in derby thriller

Soccer Football – Premier League – Fulham v Brentford – Craven Cottage, London, Britain – August 20, 2022 Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic scores their third goal Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

LONDON (Reuters) – Fulham sealed their first victory of the Premier League campaign by beating Brentford 3-2 on Saturday thanks to a late Aleksandar Mitrovic winner, after Bobby De Cordova-Reid scored the fastest goal of the season and Joao Palhinha produced a bullet header.

Mitrovic looked set to rue several missed chances, but rose to guide in a header from Kevin Mbabu’s cross in the 90th minute after Brentford’s Ivan Toney equalised to make it 2-2 in the 71st minute of a breathless encounter at Craven Cottage.

“Amazing feeling,” said Serbian Mitrovic, who has scored three goals this season. “I think it was a good derby. Lots of goals, turnovers and in the end we managed to get the win.”

“We made it difficult for ourselves and in the end I managed to get a goal. (Brentford goalkeeper) David Raya made it hard. I missed a lot of chances and lots of ups and downs but I never gave up. I stayed calm and kept believing.”

The result means Marco Silva’s side are unbeaten after three matches, having drawn 2-2 with Liverpool in their opener before a goalless draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out.

“The manager has changed the club, the way we play and the way we believe,” Mitrovic added. “We never give up. Today we deserved three points. We are happy to get that first three points and be still undefeated after three games.”

Earlier, the first top-flight clash between the West London rivals got off to a fast start as De Cordova-Reid bundled the ball home on 44 seconds following a scramble in the penalty area, with the visitors paying for losing possession cheaply.

Summer signing Palhinha then rose authoritatively to nod in Fulham’s second after a delightful cross from fellow midfielder Andreas Pereira on 20 minutes as the hosts looked primed to put Thomas Frank’s side to the sword.

But Brentford, who were second best for much of the opening period, pulled a goal back before the break through an unmarked Christian Norgaard as the Denmark midfielder’s thumping volley flew past goalkeeper Bernd Leno to give them a lifeline.

Both teams threatened after the restart as Brentford’s Toney was twice denied by the Video Assistant Referee while his Fulham counterpart Mitrovic also spurned a number of opportunities before making his final one count.

“It’s disappointing,” Toney said. “That one hurt. The first 30 minutes we were way off it. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb and did but gave the goal away at the end.

“We have to learn from that. We were on top in the second half and were all over them but we could have played into our hands more than theirs.

“You have to keep playing and doing what you do best. At times we needed a bit of composure to play round them especially in the last 20 minutes.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Christian Radnedge)