Fulham 4-2 Brighton: Aleksandar Mitrovic scores twice in stunning comeback
Last Updated: 29/01/19 11:17pm
Relegation-threatened Fulham came from 2-0 down at half-time to beat Brighton 4-2 at Craven Cottage on Tuesday.
Claudio Ranieri said this was a must-win game for Fulham and must have feared the worst when Brighton's Glenn Murray struck twice in the opening 17 minutes.
Four unanswered second-half goals from Calum Chambers, two for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Luciano Vietto completely changed the game and secured the points for Fulham.
The first Brighton goal arrived when Martin Montoya was allowed to bring the ball forward from full-back, resulting in a dangerous cross into the box which Murray flicked into the far bottom corner.
Fulham: Rico (7), Le Marchand (7), Christie (7), Ream (5), Odoi (7), Bryan (7), Seri (8), Chambers (7), Schurrle (6), Mitrovic (9), Babel (8)
Subs: R Seesegnon (6), Cairney (8), Vietto (8)
Brighton: Ryan (7), Montoya (6), Duffy (6), Dunk (6), Bong (6), Stephens (6), Propper (6), March (5), Locadia (5), Murray (7), Gross (6)
Subs: Subs: Andone (5), Knockhaert (5)
Man of the match: Aleksandar Mitrovic
The lead was doubled when Fulham cleared a cross only as far as Pascal Gross who produced an overhead kick straight into the path of Murray, allowing the striker to jab the ball home.
Fulham were disappointed that Dale Stephens only saw yellow following a studs up challenge on Andre Schurrle but the referee showed leniency.
The hosts took until the 32nd minute to threaten the goal when Ryan Babel exchanged passes with Mitrovic and fired in a shot from 25 yards but Mat Ryan dived to his right to palm the shot wide.
Fulham kept the same XI which was defeated by Spurs in their last fixture.There was just one change for Brighton as Mat Ryan returned in goal following his time playing at the Asian Cup.
It fell to Chambers to finally bring Fulham back into the game through a 25-yard volley after Shane Duffy headed a long ball straight into his path.
Babel hit a high cross into the box which Brighton failed to deal with as the ball bounced, allowing Mitrovic to beat the flatfooted Ryan and Duffy to head home from six yards for the equaliser.
Mitrovic completed the turnaround when he rose above Lewis Dunk to head a Joe Bryan cross down and into the corner to sends the fans wild.
Vietto was one of the players to make the difference off the bench and he got his reward after fellow substitute Tom Cairney's shot hit the crossbar, the rebound landed at Babel's feet and his mishit shot fell to the Argentine who volleyed home.
Claudio Ranieri: "We made a little step but we are alive but now we are a little more confident something can happen.
"It was important for us to react and react well. To win at the end. I said it at 2-0 goal it is much better to be like this at the beginning of the match than the end.
"We had all the time to have something good. It was great to score at the beginning of the second half, the players got the confidence, it was unbelievable."
Chris Hughton: "For as good as we were in the first half period, we were as bad in the second half period.
"We knew that they would come at us second half having changed it, we knew they would come at us but you have got to defend."
- Fulham vs Brighton is just the second match-up in Premier League history to see both sides come from two goals behind to avoid defeat in their two meetings within a season, after Blackburn Rovers vs Bolton Wanderers in 2003-04.
- Fulham came from behind in a Premier League game after being 2+ goals down at half-time for the first time since April 26th 2008; when they beat Manchester City 3-2 away from home after being 0-2 behind at half-time.
- Glenn Murray's opening goal ended an eight-game run without a goal for Brighton & Hove Albion - his worst-ever run without a goal in the Premier League for the club.
- In scoring the first goal of this game, Glenn Murray opened the scoring in a Premier League match for the sixth time this season - only Mohamed Salah (nine games) has done so more often than the Brighton and Hove Albion striker (level with Harry Kane).
- Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 10 Premier League goals in 2018-19, one more than his previous best tally within a season in the competition (nine in 2015-16 with Newcastle)
Man of the Match: Aleksandar Mitrovic
The striker led by example for Fulham, even in the first half he was relentless with his chasing down of the opposition and got his rewards after the break with two fine finishes.
Mitrovic was tenacious throughout, driving his team forward and giving a real focal point to an attack which needed to prove itself.
Fulham travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Saturday 2 February at 3pm. Brighton return to the Amex where they will host Watford at the weekend.