Championship
FulhamFulham5Sheff WedSheffield Wednesday3
By Andrew AloiaBBC Sport
Fulham's Neeskens Kebano scores the first goal of his two goals against Sheffield Wednesday
Neeskens Kebano's goals were his first since December 2017

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Neeskens Kebano both scored twice as Fulham won a nervy eight-goal thriller against Sheffield Wednesday to stay in the race for automatic promotion from the Championship.

The Cottagers knew victory against the Owls would keep them in the hunt for a top-two finish after Brentford were beaten by Stoke earlier on Saturday and West Bromwich Albion were undone by Huddersfield on Friday night.

The first of two well-taken Kebano goals put the hosts ahead early on before Mitrovic took his goal tally to 26 for the season with a double.

His first was a coolly taken first-time finish from a tight angle, while his second was somewhat less assured as he slipped in the process of putting his penalty away after Dominic Iorfa brought down Kebano.

Marek Rodak's foul on Jacob Murphy soon after the interval allowed Atdhe Nuhiu to pull a goal back from the spot, but a Kebano free-kick restored the three-goal advantage before Murphy grabbed a second late on for the Owls.

Nuhiu set up a tense finish with an 89th-minute header, but Bobby Decordova-Reid's injury-time goal from distance made the three points safe for a Fulham side that finished a man down after Harrison Reed was shown a second caution.

Fulham still in the automatic mix

Victory leaves Scott Parker's side fourth in the table, but a win at Wigan on Wednesday, coupled with defeat for West Brom and anything less than a win for the Bees, would secure an immediate return to the Premier League.

Fulham's failure to beat any of the three sides above them in the table since the Championship's resumption, following the three-month interruption brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, seemed to have scuppered their aspirations for automatic promotion.

The draw against West Brom on Tuesday, which ended the London club's four-match winning run following back-to-back defeats by Leeds United and Brentford in June, left Parker's side five points adrift of second spot.

But defeats for West Brom and the Bees in the space of 24 season-defining hours have rekindled hopes, as well as handed Leeds promotion as league champions.

The Owls remain ensconced in mid-table, eight points from the relegation places and 14 adrift of the play-off spots, but also have the looming threat of a possible points deduction hanging over them.

Wednesday boss Garry Monk has previously said "it makes no sense" that the club are still waiting for a verdict over a charge of misconduct.

While there remains uncertainty off the pitch, the Yorkshire club's on-field exertions have earned them eight points from a possible 24 since the Championship's restart to keep them clear of relegation trouble.

Parker, perhaps forward planning for a play-off campaign, made five changes for the visit of Wednesday, with Reed and the fit-again Tom Cairney among those on the bench.

Fulham players celebrate Neeskens Kebano's first-half strike
Fulham were completely dominant in the first half and led 3-0 at the break

Kabano was one of the quintet to come in and he was quick to make an impact, cutting in off the left on 11 minutes to beat Joe Wildsmith at his near post with a low shot from distance.

Cyrus Christie twice tested Wildsmith before the break, his efforts coming either side of Mitrovic's first goal of the afternoon - a well-placed finish inside the far post after running onto a brilliantly threaded pass from Josh Onomah.

Wednesday offered little threat going forward before the break and only invited further misery on themselves when Iorfa's needless challenge on Kebano sent Mitrovic to the penalty spot.

A lunge from Rodak that felled Murphy after the break allowed Nuhiu to score from the spot, with the goal serving to spark Wednesday to life while Fulham began to look nervy for the first time.

Kebano's clever low free-kick that skimmed under the wall in the 73rd minute looked as though it would settle the contest, but a heavy deflection off the attacker at the other end from a Murphy shot got the Owls back into it.

Nuhiu's powerful header then raised panic, only for Decordova-Reid to hit back in emphatic fashion in a truly bizarre second half that ended with Reed sent off and banned for the all important final regular-season match.

Fulham manager Scott Parker: "It's a massive win, result-wise it was key for us today, we understood that, we knew what was at stake.

"There were two scenarios obviously, and we saw the West Brom and Brentford results, so we knew we needed to win today to keep the automatic hopes alive.

"The result was key, and we stood up to that today. If our season ends on Wednesday, amazing, and if it doesn't we'll try to finish it off."

Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk: "To score three goals against a very good side but come off losing, through errors we have made, it is very frustrating.

"We make a few steps forward, then take a few back and that has proved very costly for us.

"They were poor goals and when we got them on the ropes, we compounded ourselves with more errors."

Line-ups

Fulham

  • 12Rodák
  • 22Christie
  • 3Hector
  • 13Ream
  • 20Le Marchand
  • 18ArterSubstituted forOdoiat 90'minutes
  • 8JohansenSubstituted forReedat 68'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 24KnockaertSubstituted forS Sessegnonat 90'minutes
  • 25OnomahSubstituted forCairneyat 79'minutes
  • 7KebanoSubstituted forDe Cordova-Reidat 78'minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 9Mitrovic

Substitutes

  • 1Bettinelli
  • 4Odoi
  • 5Mawson
  • 6McDonald
  • 10Cairney
  • 14De Cordova-Reid
  • 21Reed
  • 23Bryan
  • 43S Sessegnon

Sheff Wed

  • 28Wildsmith
  • 27Iorfa
  • 15Lees
  • 13Börner
  • 22OdubajoSubstituted forMurphyat 45'minutes
  • 21LuongoSubstituted forReachat 75'minutes
  • 8PelupessySubstituted forHuntat 79'minutes
  • 10Bannan
  • 7K Harris
  • 47WindassSubstituted forWickhamat 45'minutes
  • 38Da CruzSubstituted forNuhiuat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Palmer
  • 6Rhodes
  • 14Murphy
  • 17Nuhiu
  • 19Wickham
  • 20Reach
  • 25Dawson
  • 29Hunt
  • 41Waldock
Referee:
Darren England

Match Stats

Home TeamFulhamAway TeamSheff Wed
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home12
Away14
Shots on Target
Home8
Away6
Corners
Home4
Away8
Fouls
Home12
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Fulham 5, Sheffield Wednesday 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Fulham 5, Sheffield Wednesday 3.

  3. Post update

    Maxime Le Marchand (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Atdhe Nuhiu (Sheffield Wednesday).

  5. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield Wednesday. Conceded by Denis Odoi.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield Wednesday. Conceded by Marek Rodák.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Adam Reach (Sheffield Wednesday) left footed shot from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Atdhe Nuhiu with a headed pass.

  8. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Harrison Reed (Fulham) for a bad foul.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Harrison Reed (Fulham).

  10. Post update

    Jacob Murphy (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Steven Sessegnon (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Connor Wickham (Sheffield Wednesday).

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Fulham 5, Sheffield Wednesday 3. Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Aleksandar Mitrovic.

  14. Post update

    Steven Sessegnon (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Dominic Iorfa (Sheffield Wednesday).

  16. Booking

    Harrison Reed (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Fulham. Steven Sessegnon replaces Anthony Knockaert.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Fulham. Denis Odoi replaces Harry Arter.

  19. Goal!

    Goal! Fulham 4, Sheffield Wednesday 3. Atdhe Nuhiu (Sheffield Wednesday) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jacob Murphy with a cross.

  20. Booking

    Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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