Aleksandar Mitrovic’s last-minute powerhouse header snatched Fulham a 3-2 win over local rivals Brentford at a rocking Craven Cottage.
The Serbia striker converted Kevin Mbabu’s teasing far-post cross at the last, just as Fulham were fearing they had squandered victory after surrendering the 2-0 lead they established inside the opening 20 minutes.
Marco Silva’s team sealed their first win of the new Premier League campaign thanks to Mitrovic’s second goal of the term.
Harry Kane celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney saw two fine finishes ruled out for offside, only to make it what he thought would be third time lucky when he tapped home to level the scores at 2-2 in 71st minute.
However Mitrovic grabbed the last word for Fulham in a hugely entertaining and high-quality top-flight battle.
Bobby Decordova-Reid had Fulham 1-0 to the good after just 45 seconds, before João Palhinha doubled that lead with a powerful header. Christian Nørgaard and Toney dragged Thomas Frank’s impressive Brentford back into the equation, but despite that commendable rally Fulham still found another gear.
Fulham can now look proudly back on an opening three games comprising creditable draws against Liverpool and Wolves, and now a win snatched in front of watching owner Shahid Khan.
Decordova-Reid had Fulham in front before Brentford had hardly even blinked. Mitrovic cut a low ball square into the six-yard box, Jay Stansfield’s strike was deflected on to the bar and back into the goalmouth where Decordova-Reid broke first from the melee to tap home.
Mitrovic thought he had doubled the lead by tapping in after David Raya palmed away his header but the striker was offside from the initial cross and the goal was chalked off. Palhinha did make it 2-0 a matter of minutes later however, thumping in a fine header from Andreas Pereira’s corner.
The hosts had dominated the opening half-hour with precious little by way of Brentford riposte. Yoane Wissa’s underpowered header straight at Bernd Leno offered a minor warning shot from the visitors – and that set the tone for Frank’s side to battle back into the contest.
Nørgaard’s crisp volley nestled inside the post from Mathias Jensen’s corner as Brentford struck doubt into Fulham minds. The hosts took that 2-1 lead into half-time, but were lucky not to concede again straight after the break.
Toney drilled home on the spin to cap a fine Brentford raid, only for VAR to chalk off the effort for offside. Fulham sharpened up quickly after that reprieve, but Mitrovic saw his firm strike rebuffed by Raya after breaking clean through.
Toney had the ball in the net for a second time for Brentford just past the hour, but again the striker was offside. Yet the forward finally got his goal shortly after when he turned in Wissa’s ball across the box to level the match.
Just as Fulham started to fear the worst however, up popped Mitrovic to power home a header and snatch back the lead at the end. Mbabu’s influential cameo paid dividends as it was his fine cross that allowed Mitrovic to bury the winner.