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Fulham defeat Aston Villa in Championship play-off final to reach Premier League

28 May, 2018, 16:40 | Author: Lora Ball
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 ON THE RISE Slavisa Jokanovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic

Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic insists the 18-year-old has no intention of leaving.

Fulham, who failed to claim automatic promotion when losing to Birmingham City on the final day of the regular season as they finished third in the table, celebrated with their joyous fans as they sealed a lucrative place among the elite.

Despite their superior experience, Aston Villa succumbed to defeat.

Sessegnon and Tom Cairney, who scored the victor, will still be targeted over the coming months but Fulham, and billionaire owner Shahid Khan, have the financial muscle to resist overtures for a player many felt deserved an England World Cup call-up. "But let's not forget we are Aston Villa, a proud club, a big club". In fact, it has come to be expected.

Yet again, it was Ryan Sessegnon, Fulham's teenage prodigy, who created the defining moment. We need to be courageous, we need to make investment, we need to spend money to survive or to make a more important step.

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Jack Grealish suddenly got involved in the game and he forced a save from goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli after a superb slaloming dribble through the Fulham defence. But we're Aston Villa.

Ryan Fredericks should have been sent off in the first half.

There are also Chelsea duo Tomas Kalas and Lucas Piazon, who have been on loan at Fulham for two seasons, making more than 120 appearances between them in that time, while Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo and Brighton's Oliver Norwood have made telling contributions this past campaign. As Grealish went to ground, Fredericks looked to hurdle him before stamping on his knee. "We score a goal and today we get a red card".

Back up the other end, Aleksandar Mitrovic glanced a header wide of the far post but Villa were quickly back onto the offensive and Grealish came agonisingly close to scoring one of Wembley's great goals.

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Fulham, Wolves, and Cardiff should do the same if they are to stay up next season.

Jack Grealish sparked a melee following a tough tackle on Tom Cairney.

"The second half we were much better".

Fulham still had 20 minutes left to hang on to their slim lead and now with a player down. No one wants to see the spectacle ruined.

There was a lack of quality around Grealish, though, and Bruce will rue the absence of clarity in attack that prevented him from securing a record fifth promotion to the Premier League.

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