Talking Points: Cardiff Second Leg

Friday 31 July 2020 09:00

Mitro playing the role of chief cheerleader is our favourite Talking Point from Thursday's Second Leg clash with Cardiff City.

1. Head cheerleader

Aleksandar Mitrović was again not risked for the game, but he was there in the Johnny Haynes Stand – along with Harry Arter – to cheer his teammates on. Literally. The big man did not stop barking encouragement from the first whistle to the last, whether it was “Come on boys!” or trying to pick someone up, i.e. “Next time Anthony, next time!” after Knockaert saw an effort saved. Just when you thought you couldn’t love Mitro anymore…

2. Peak Abou

We’ve seen glimpses of classic Aboubakar Kamara since his return from injury, but a half-time introduction gave him more time to show what he’s all about. Thursday was the closest he’s gone to scoring since getting fit, with Alex Smithies pulling off two fantastic saves to deny him. Both were thunderbolts from distance, with the Cardiff stopper getting a strong hand to the first, before getting down brilliantly to push the next one onto the post a minute later.

3. Critical from Christie

Much was made of Marek Rodák’s fine double save in the 72nd minute, and rightly so, but in between there was an absolutely crucial block from Cyrus Christie. Curtis Nelson had looked set to tuck the ball in after Rodák had denied Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, but Christie put his body on the line to repel the danger and keep Fulham ahead on aggregate.

4. Kebano’s misfortune

Neeskens Kebano is the form player in the division, having netted five times in three-and-a-half games. He’s peaking at just the right time, so it was a blow to see him depart the action at the midway point. Everyone associated with Fulham will be hoping it was precautionary and that he’s fighting fit for the Play-Off Final on Tuesday.

5. Consecutive Wembley appearances

It’s always a special occasion to walk out at Wembley Stadium, with Scott Parker describing reaching the Final as “an incredible achievement.” Fulham fans know better than most how difficult it is to bounce back from Premier League relegation at the first time of asking, and so seeing us compete in the Championship showpiece event for the second consecutive year that we’ve been in the division, is certainly something to applaud.

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