Fulham wins £135m football game and promotion to English Premier League

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Fulham secured an instant return to the Premier League on Tuesday by beating west London rival Brentford 2-1 in the Championship play-off final.

Joe Bryan scored twice in extra time at Wembley to give Fulham the win in what is widely called the most lucrative game in football.

Fulham will receive at least £135 million (Dh647m) over three years after securing promotion, a year after being relegated from the world’s richest football league.

Fulham supporters celebrate outside their team's Craven Cottage football stadium. AFP

Fulham owner Shahid Khan failed in a bid to buy Wembley a year ago, and his team had to celebrate in an empty stadium on Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bryan broke the deadlock after catching goalkeeper David Raya by surprise with a free kick from nearly 35 metres in the 105th minute as both teams expected a cross into the box.

The left back netted again in the 117th minute after playing a one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic to clinch promotion in Scott Parker’s first full season in charge of Fulham.

Brentford, who boasted a 59-goal strike force in Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins, was kept in check in the most important match of the season.

Henrik Dalsgaard’s header in the third minute of stoppage was too late for Brentford, who were trying to return to the top division after a 73-year absence.

"We've done what we've done tonight but there's still improvement, and that's what makes me so proud and happy," Parker told Sky Sports.

"For all of the good players and everything you see, what makes me so happy is I see a group of players who only a year ago were struggling psychologically, didn't have a mindset or mentality.

"I've driven this team every single day and what makes me proud is I stood on the touchline tonight and have seen a team that represents what I've been saying over the past 12 months."

Brentford, who beat Fulham twice in the league this season, finished third in the Championship table, ahead of their London rivals on goal difference.

The result is a bitter blow for Brentford, who were on the brink of automatic promotion last month before successive defeats against lowly Stoke and Barnsley forced them to settle for a third-place finish behind Leeds and West Brom.

Updated: August 5, 2020 03:35 AM

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