July 30, 2020 / 8:58 PM / 14 days ago

Soccer-Fulham make Championship playoff final despite 2-1 loss to Cardiff

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Fulham advanced to next week’s Championship playoff final despite a 2-1 home loss to Cardiff City on Thursday after edging past their opponents 3-2 on aggregate.

They will face local rivals Brentford, who beat Swansea City by the same aggregate score after Wednesday’s 3-1 victory, in an all south-west London final at Wembley next week.

In a furious start, Cardiff, who had lost the first leg 2-0, stunned the hosts after eight minutes with centre back Curtis Nelson’s header.

But Fulham struck back 24 seconds after the restart, snatching an equaliser through Neeskens Kebano to restore their two-goal advantage in the tie.

After conceding possession to Fulham for the rest of the first half, substitute Lee Tomlin put Cardiff back in front two minutes after the restart to set up a tense second half.

Cardiff keeper Alex Smithies kept his team in the game on several occasions with a string of superb saves, including tipping an Aboubakar Kamara shot onto the post in the 68th minute.

But despite late Cardiff pressure for a goal that would have sent the game into extra time, Fulham hung on to earn the chance to return to the Premier League after one season in the second tier. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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