Cardiff 2-2 Fulham: Neeskens Kebano rescues point for Cottagers
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 25/02/17 7:07pm
Neeskens Kebano rescued a point for promotion-chasing Fulham in an entertaining 2-2 draw against Cardiff in Wales.
A Kenneth Zohore double looked to have cancelled out Stefan Johansen's early goal, but Kebano's 68th-minute strike closed the gap to sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday to five points.
On a day when manager Neil Warnock's new contract was formally announced, Cardiff could have snatched a late winner but substitute Declan John hit the post in injury-time.
The Bluebirds had a glorious chance to take the lead after two minutes when Joe Ralls' looping ball played Junior Hoilett in on goal. But the winger took far too long to shot and eventually fired over.
And the hosts could have scored again just moments later but David Button saved well from Sol Bamba's close-range effort.
The Bluebirds kept piling on the pressure and Hoilett should have broken the deadlock when he connected with Zohore's pull-back, however, he was denied by the Fulham stopper.
And after Button's latest heroics, Fulham charged up the other end and created their first opening of the afternoon as Johansen's volley was superbly tipped away by Allan McGregor.
But Johansen, who netted in Fulham's 2-1 FA Cup win against Cardiff last month, haunted the Welsh club again when he gave the Whites the lead in the 17th minute.
Slavisa Jokanovic's men quickly broke from a Cardiff free-kick and the fast-flowing move culminated in the Norwegian midfielder running the length of the pitch to slot the ball past McGregor.
But Johansen went from hero to zero in the space of seven minutes after gifting Cardiff an equaliser. The 26-year-old failed to control the ball and Zohore surged forward and finished coolly.
Fulham responded well to the setback as Jazz Richards cleared a Kevin McDonald header off the line and the ball fell to Floyd Ayite whose shot was saved by McGregor.
Cardiff hit back with chances of their own in this fast-paced first-half when Button thwarted Hoilett yet again before Kadeem Harris fired just wide. And former Bluebirds defender Scott Malone ended a breathless 45 minutes with a sliced effort which flew inches wide of the post.
Fulham and Cardiff were the in-form Championship teams coming into this contest and they started the second half how they finished the first. Ayite and Craig Noone both squandered opportunities, blasting over from inside the box.
Zohore netted his sixth goal in as many games to put Cardiff in front in the 56th minute after latching onto a long ball and emphatically scoring with the outside of his left boot.
But Fulham drew level after Tom Cairney's clever ball found Kebano whose scuffed shot trickled past McGregor.
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock:
"With the chances we had we should've been 4-0 up at half-time. mBoth teams can feel disappointed that they didn't win it. But we've come a long way and that's a game where I think we would've been beaten earlier in my tenure.
"We've got to try to get the other lads to take their opportunities, like Kenneth [Zohore] is doing."
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic:
"We're disappointed because we created chances, both teams did. mWe didn't expect anything to be easy but we needed to be more solid in some parts of our game. We gave away too many easy chances and I'm not satisfied with the result."
"We can't surrender now, we have to push harder and continue to fight for the top six," said Jokanovic. Anything is possible - we want to be better than the position we are in. The war is not finished yet."