Fulham used two wonderful strikes to advance to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup over Leeds United. Joao Palhinha and Manor Solomon delivered the goals at Craven Cottage. The game was a microcosm of the idea that talent can be the difference.
After all, for much of the game, Leeds actually mustered many of the better chances. In fact, Leeds had the first chance major chance of the game. From a corner, Weston McKennie headed the ball on the Fulham goal. Record signing Georginio Rutter pounced on the rebound from Marek Rodák to score his first goal for the Whites. However, the goal came back for a push from Weston McKennie just before his header on goal.
Wilfried Gnonto also had the ball in the back of the net. However, the Italian was sure he was offside and did not even celebrate the moment. Then, just before the half, Rutter looped a header over Rodák, but the ball hit the inside of the post.
Stunning goals from Fulham eliminate Leeds from FA Cup
In between those, though, was a gem of a goal from the hosts. Palhinha won possession from an errant Tyler Adams pass in the Leeds half. With no Leeds player able to apply immediate pressure, the Brazilian shaped up for a shot with the inside of his right foot. The power and placement was enough to get past Illan Meslier, who had not faced a shot on target at that point.
Fulham did not have another shot on target until the second half. Unfortunately for the French goalkeeper, it was another instance of an untouchable shot. Manor Solomon picked up the ball on the left side of the field. The Israeli played a quick one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic. Solomon then took one touch and fired around to the same left-hand side of Meslier. It was to the same effect, too.
Fulham trailed in terms of most statistics. Yet, it led in the only one that truly mattered, the scoreline.
Leeds had a handful of gilt-edged opportunities. Brenden Aaronson, who made a strong impact upon coming on as a substitute, narrowly sent a volley wide. There was a goal-mouth scramble that somehow did not end up in the back of the net.
The Fulham defense, however, was level for each foray Leeds sent forward in this FA Cup fifth round tie. The main culprit for that was Tim Ream, who had a stupendous game against three of his compatriots.
Fulham is into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup for the first time since the 2009/10 season. The draw for its opponent is Wednesday evening.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Action Plus
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