Fulham have one foot within the Championship play-off last as moments of magic from Josh Onomah and Neeskens Kebano gave them a 2-Zero win at Cardiff.
A 49th-minute solo effort from Onomah gave the Cottagers the lead, whereas Kebano doubled their lead with a luxurious free-kick in stoppage-time.
There seemed to be no hazard to Cardiff 4 minutes after the restart with Onomah 18 yards out and his again to objective.
However the former Tottenham midfielder turned Marlon Pack and rounded each Sean Morrison and Curtis Nelson earlier than slotting previous goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
It was not more than Fulham deserved as Scott Parker’s males underlined their status as one of the best passing aspect within the Championship and Cardiff – who completed one place and eight factors worse off than the guests within the common season – struggled to put a glove on them.
Fulham have been weakened by the absence of Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Championship’s prime scorer, and Parker defined pre-match that he needed to make a ‘calculated resolution’ to maintain the 26-goal Serbia worldwide in rivalry for the remainder of the play-offs.
LATEST FOOTBALL STORIES
Mitrovic’s absence meant Bobby Decordova-Reid, who left Cardiff for west London final August, crammed a extra ahead position as midfielder Harry Arter additionally missed out.
It was a full of life begin from either side, however Cardiff carried the better attacking intent in what was an open contest.
Leandro Bacuna’s swerving shot proved too scorching for Marek Rodak to deal with, however the Fulham goalkeeper was saved by sensible defending from Michael Hector.
Robert Glatzel appeared as if he would prod within the rebound, however Hector bought there first with an outstretched leg and someway managed to scoop the ball away in the identical motion.
Glatzel would hit the goal twice within the first half, however the German’s efforts lacked the ability to ruffle Rodak.
Fulham slowly settled into their rhythm and Cardiff switched off on the far put up to depart Onomah unmarked from Kebano’s cross.
However Smithies got here to Cardiff’s rescue by flying off his line and spreading himself to save lots of.
There was one other escape for Cardiff in first-half stoppage time when Tom Cairney discovered house 20 yards out and shaved a put up with a curled effort.
Fulham began the second half as they completed the primary and, buoyed by Onomah’s marvellous solo effort, went shut once more when Decordova-Reid rifled simply over from 20 yards.
Bluebirds boss Harris responded with a triple substitution on the second drinks break in an try to forestall being fully overrun.
Danny Ward, Josh Murphy and Will Vaulks have been despatched on and Cardiff responded to vogue a golden likelihood earlier than Morrison’s management let him down.
That was to show pricey as Morrison body-checked Cairney and Kebano curled residence the ensuing free-kick from 20 yards, handing Fulham a major benefit earlier than the return leg at Craven Cottage on Wednesday.