Fulham edge closer to relegation as Adama secures late win for Wolverhampton Wanderers
Premier League, Craven Cottage: Fulham 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Traore 90')
Wolverhampton Wanderers' Spanish midfielder Adama Traore celebrates after he scores his team's opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Craven Cottage in London on April 9, 2021.
Adama Traore struck a goal deep into added-time to fire Wolves to victory and sink Fulham deeper into the relegation mire.
Fulham thought they had done enough to earn what would have been a precious point only for Traore to break their hearts in the second minute of stoppage-time with a powerful shot which beat Alphonse Areola at his near post. It was his first Premier League goal in 16 months.
It was just deserved for Wolves as despite a below par performance they ought to have already been ahead. Nuno Espirito Santo's side thought they had edged in front on the stroke of half-time when Willian Jose headed in what would have been his first goal for the club only for VAR to intervene and rule it out for a very marginal offside call.
It looked to be a real let off for Fulham, who, save for a Ruben Loftus-Cheek header in the first half, offered next to nothing in attack.
With a victory enough to lift the Cottagers out of the bottom three, Parker's decision to leave it until the 75th-minute to make an attacking switch will have raised eyebrows.
The introduction of Josh Maja provided a slight improvement, although Fulham still failed to test Rui Patricio in between the Wolves goal.
And with the hosts throwing caution to the wind late on, they were caught short on the counter-attack, with Traore's shot proving decisive.
The victory lifts Wolves up to 12th, while Fulham remain 18th, three points behind Newcastle having played two games more.
Fulham and Wolves pay tribute to Prince Philip
TALKING POINT - VAR disappoints again - but still can't rescue doomed Fulham
VAR was about to steal the headlines until Traore's late winner, but let's face it, there needs to be a serious rethink about the offside rule ahead of next season. At the moment, it is simply ruining too many spectacles. There was nothing clear and obvious about Podence's sleeve being in an offside position - Fulham's defenders didn't even appeal for offside. Decisions like this are, undoubtedly, detracting from the beautiful game.
But it shouldn't detract from Fulham's poor performance and Parker's tactics. In what was a must-win game, the Cottagers boss left it too late to make his substitutions. Their approach play was fine but too often there weren't any attackers in the box. On too many occasions, the final ball was lacking. It has been the story of their campaign and now time is finally running out.
Fulham have six games left to save their season but only two are at Craven Cottage. This result all but spells relegation.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Adama Traore (Wolves)
The former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough attacker always looked Wolves' most likely player to make the difference, particularly when Fulham committed more players forward and left themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack. Indeed, the 25-year-old proved the match winner following a clever run, a burst of pace and a wicked shot. After shining in the defeat to West Ham on Monday night, it feels like Traore has found his confidence again and that can only be good news for manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
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28' - Close! Loftus-Cheek should score or at least hit the target! Andersen (again) builds the attack with a raking pass to the left flank. Robinson gets his head up and picks out Loftus-Cheek with a superb cross. He's trying to be too precise with his glancing header though and misses the target!
45'+3 - Goal ruled out! Willian Jose has his first goal for Wolves! It's all about his movement as he runs across his marker to meet Podence's beautiful cross and he beats Areola with a bullet header. But wait, VAR is having a look to see if Podence was in an offside. It's very, very close. And it has been ruled out. Podence was offside by the finest of margins. That is so cruel. A real let off for Fulham.
90'+2 - GOAL! Fulham 0-1 Wolves (Adama Traore): Wolves win it right at the end! Traore grabs his first goal in 16 months and it could spell the end of Fulham's time in the Premier League. It comes following a rapid counter-attack, with Silva feeding Traore and he beats Areola at his near post with a shot that has plenty of pace and power!
Adama Traoré's goal ended a run of 48 appearances without scoring in the Premier League, since his last strike against Manchester City in December 2019. The Spaniard's first goal in the competition this season came with his 28th shot attempt.
Fábio Silva (18y 264d) is the youngest player to assist a goal in the Premier League this season, with Bukayo Saka in February 2020 (18y 171d v Everton) being the last player younger than Silva to assist a team-mate in the competition.