Fulham made an instant return to the Premier League on Tuesday, beating Brentford 2 – 1 at Wembley in what is regarded as the most lucrative game in world football.
Defender Joe Bryan was the unlikely hero for Scott Parker’ s side in the Championship play -off final , scoring two goals in extra time after the London clubs were locked at 0 – 0 at the end of a cagey 90 minutes .
Henrik Dalsgaard scored a late consolation for Brentford but it was too little too late for Thomas Frank ’ s team , who have not played in the English top – flight for 73 years.
The Craven Cottage club will earn around £ 135 million ($ 176 million ) for bouncing back from relegation last season and this result also gives rookie boss Parker a first success of his fledgling managerial career.
“ 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 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 last 12 months . ”
Left – back Bryan broke the deadlock for Fulham in the 105 th minute when he made the most of a costly misjudgement by Brentford goalkeeper David Raya.
While Raya and everyone else expected a cross from a free -kick 35 yards out , Bryan beat the goalkeeper at his near post to break the deadlock .
The goal sparked wild celebrations , which only grew in the 117 th minute when Bryan got forward again and exchanged passes with substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic before finding the net again .
Promotion was confirmed for Fulham but only after Henrik Dalsgaard had pulled one back for Brentford with seconds to go , heading home after Christian Norgaard had knocked a free – kick across the face of goal.
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.
“ Of course it ’ s tough when you lose a final like this in a very tight game but I’ m extremely proud of my players , ” said Frank .
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“ We have gone from a mid -table club to a team who , in the league table , was the third -best team .
We are very fine margins away from the Premier League, which is an incredible achievement from us . ”
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