Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Millwall and Fulham at The Den as goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Fabio Carvalho steered Marco Silva's Cottagers to victory on Tuesday night
Tuesday 17 August 2021 23:36, UK
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Fabio Carvalho were on target again as Fulham continued their fine start to the Championship season with a 2-1 win at Millwall.
Mitrovic and Carvalho - both on the scoresheet in Saturday's win at Huddersfield - struck in the opening eight minutes to take Fulham top of the table on goal difference.
Benik Afobe's header four minutes from time set up an exciting finish, but Millwall were not in the contest for the majority of the game.
Both sides were met by raucous support from all four stands at the Den, but some spectators were still making their way to their seats when Mitrovic had Fulham up and running.
As proved the case all night, the pace and movement of the three players in behind the Serb - Neeskens Kebano, Carvalho and Ivan Cavaleiro - was too much for a beleaguered Millwall defence, with the outstanding Carvalho teeing up Mitrovic for the opener.
The 18-year-old raced down the left-hand side before smartly cutting back for his centre forward on the edge of the six-yard box. Mitrovic prodded home with a smart poke past Bartosz Bialkowski, and it was not long before he was beaten again.
Carvalho was the beneficiary this time, his perfectly timed run in behind the Millwall defence matched by Kebano's expertly weighted through ball.
Bialkowski might have done more to close down the playmaker's space, and could only watch as Carvalho smashed it inside his near post.
The Lions never got going. Scott Malone and Afobe both worked tirelessly to give their side a foothold, but Millwall's final ball was poor.
Their captain Jake Cooper was lucky to escape sanction when he pulled back Kebano right on the edge of the box, the Fulham player staying on his feet no doubt helping the defender's cause.
Fulham should have got their third moments later, Carvalho again at the heart of it.
Picking up the ball in his own half, he unselfishly released Cavaleiro cross-field, with the Portugese having plenty of time and space to pick his spot. Bialkowski again stayed rooted to his line, but Cavaleiro could only smash it into the advertising hoardings.
Mitrovic scooped over the bar and Carvalho curled just wide before the break as Fulham sought to put the game to bed, and the home supporters booed their team off at half-time.
Mitrovic and Carvalho both drew smart reaction saves from Bialkowski after the break, with the latter then seeing an effort cleared off the line.
Matt Smith's cushioned header in the final stages was tucked home by Afobe to set up a frantic final few minutes, but Fulham held on.
Millwall's Gary Rowett: "We were beaten by a far better side. They gave us a bit of a lesson - they outran us, outpassed us and showed a little bit more drive and desire. The first two goals are little glimmers of space and the way they exploited it was incredible.
"Look, they are a good side - as good a side, on that performance, as I've seen. I hoped Huddersfield [Fulham won 5-1] was a little bit of a blip but I think they showed tonight that they are the best side in the division. They play with such pace, power and intensity. The simple fact was that we just couldn't quite get close enough and couldn't quite match that."
Fulham's Marco Silva: "We dominated all the game, we didn't give them chances in our box and and created enough chances to score a third, a fourth or a fifth. "You know it will be very difficult to play Millwall with this crowd and how they played but our asked them to show our quality, character and quality - and congratulations to our players.
"Carvalho was fantastic. It is something he has been doing since pre-season. e started well against Boro, but it is not just him. I see the team playing better achieving better things and becoming more confident and consistent."