Huddersfield 1-4 Fulham: Stefan Johansen brace stuns hosts
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 22/04/17 8:20pm
Stefan Johansen scored twice as Fulham laid out their promotion credentials with a stunning 4-1 victory over play-off rivals Huddersfield.
The Norway international's first-half double gave Fulham a fourth successive win and denied Huddersfield a victory which would have clinched a play-off spot.
Huddersfield had taken the lead through Chris Lowe's early penalty but goals from Scott Malone, Tom Cairney and Johansen left the home side reeling at 4-1 down at half-time.
Fulham inflicted Town's heaviest league defeat at Craven Cottage - a 5-0 drubbing in October - and made it nine goals in two matches against the West Yorkshire side.
It started well for Town when, in the fourth minute, Floyd Ayite pushed Lowe in the back and referee Andy Davies pointed to the spot.
Lowe picked up the ball himself and confidently struck the penalty left-footed into the bottom right corner.
Fulham hit back immediately and Johansen set up Ryan Sessegnon who fired over. Ayite made amends for conceding the penalty when he set up Malone for the equaliser in the 16th minute.
Malone still had plenty to do and side-stepped a defender and fired across goal and into the far corner. Four minutes later Fulham were ahead when Jonathan Hogg brought down Ayite and Cairney sent Danny Ward the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Fulham were well on top and Ayite forced a save from Ward before the Cottagers made it 3-1 in the 36th minute.
Sone Aluko broke from the halfway line and slipped a ball to Cairney. He set up a shooting chance for Sessegnon but his effort was blocked. The rebound fell for Johansen to drill home.
Johansen then made it 4-1 in the 45th minute when he caught Hogg in possession. He drove forward into the box and fired past Ward into the bottom corner.
Huddersfield almost grabbed a lifeline at the start of the second half when Aaron Mooy's persistence set up Rajiv van La Parra but his curler was just wide.
Fulham could have sealed it in the 54th minute with a quick fire breakaway move. Cairney played Sessegnon through the middle but Ward, one-on-one, made the save.
Town then brought on attacking subs Izzy Brown and Sean Scannell for Joe Lolley and Philip Billing as head coach David Wagner attempted to salvage something.
Fulham were happy to keep Huddersfield at bay and when Town striker Collin Quaner had an opportunity he was denied by Marcus Bettinelli.
Ten minutes from time Fulham had another great chance involving a slick passing move but Malone dragged his effort wide. Johansen limped off injured with four minutes left but his job was done in the first half.
Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic
"We are in a good mental moment and we believe we can play good football and compete very well.
"I am very happy at how we are at this time. We are solid and this is important for us. To win 4-1 is a great result but perhaps I miss the clean sheet.
"The team showed great character and confidence and we were very brave. We scored four goals but it could have been more.
"Our standards are improving and this is exactly what we have to do.
"I am not looking at the table. I am only thinking about the next game. Now we need to rest and concentrate on the regular part of this competition."
Huddersfield head coach David Wagner
"It's still in our own hands and we have three games left.
"We have shown unbelievable consistency all season and we have been in the top six virtually the whole season.
"In my opinion we have been the most consistent team in this division so far."