Reuters2 minutes read
Brentford fueled his ambition to play in European football with a 3-2 home win over hopefuls Fulham to extend his Premier League unbeaten run to 12 games on Monday.
Ivan Toney’s second-half penalty and a late shot from Mathias Jensen sealed the points for ninth-placed Brentford against their west London rivals, putting them closer to European qualifying spots.
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Toney, who faces FA charges and a possible suspension for alleged gambling violations, coolly converted his free-kick past Fulham keeper Bernd Leno in the 53rd minute after a clumsy foul on Christian Norgaard by Issa Diop.
Jensen then tapped in from an acute angle after a superb run and cut back from Kevin Schade in the 85th minute to kill an underperforming Fulham whose four-game streak was coming to an end.
Brentford had taken an early lead from a deflected shot from Ethan Pinnock, but Fulham struck back just before half-time when Manor Solomon scored for their fourth straight league game.
Fulham’s Carlos Vinicius clinched an injury-time consolation with almost the last shot, but Brentford’s Thomas Frank’s side have now been unbeaten in the Premier League since October and have 38 points from 24 games, a point behind Fulham in seventh place and four behind fifth place Liverpool.
“I think it’s up to us to dream but stay focused, have a good rest tomorrow and then train well,” Frank said of his side’s push into continental football next season.
Brentford were defending their longest unbeaten run in the top flight this season, flying towards Fulham from the first whistle and Leno had already made two saves before Pinnock’s shot, which appeared to go wide, caught Tim Ream and deflected into the corner.
The hosts were rampant and Bryan Mbeumo grazed the post with a free-kick before Toney saw a free-kick bounce off the woodwork as well.
Fulham equalized in the 39th minute when another free-kick hit the frame of the goal, but this time Andreas Pereira’s excellent shot deflected for Israel’s Solomon to nod home.
Fulham enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but once Toney had maintained his 100 per cent penalty conversion rate since joining Brentford – he now has 22 from 22 – there was only one winner.
“He’s the best penalty taker in the world for a number of reasons, his strategy, he practices it and he’s very cool. He still keeps going,” said Frank of his striker.
“He’s a special footballer, I think his character is unique in terms of guiding and driving his team.”
Brentford are one of just three clubs in Europe’s major leagues not to lose a game in 2023, the others being French club Reims and Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.