Fulham under-19s book place in Dallas Cup final

Michael Steele

Steve Wigley's boys in dreamland after beating Fluminense on penalties and securing their place in the Dallas Cup final

The dreaded penalty shoot-out was needed to decide the fate of the under-19s in their Dallas Cup expedition after finishing one-a-piece against Fluminense.

Starting the brighter of the two sides, Wigley’s men exuded confidence all over the park, attacking fluently and defending expertly against the array of Brazilian football that came their way.

It was Fulham who eventually broke the deadlock on 26 minutes when Ryan Williams flicked his header over opposition keeper Cristhian Belenzier, after latching on to a long-range chip from Lasse Vigen Christensen.

Celebrations were cut short as moments later Fulham found themselves level, with Diego Camilo getting himself goal side of defender Josh Passley from a cross, and sending the ball up and over keeper Marek Rodak.

Fulham started the second half refreshed and dominated the play, restricting Fluminense to counter-attack football. The Whites came close on a few occasions with Cauley Woodrow and Muamer Tankovic failing to capitalise from great pieces of team play. Ryan Williams also came close to doubling his scoring contribution, five minutes before the end.

The game continued in its typical tenacious vein, with both teams matching each other in all areas of the park. Fluminense came closest to winning the tie in the second half, but some confident defending by the Fulham back four, sent the game to penalties.

Marlon Barbosa struck first for Fluminense, placing his penalty dead centre and away from keeper Marek Rodak, who had committed to a dive.

Cauley Woodrow was first to take a penalty for The Whites and thundered his penalty bottom left, beyond the reach of Cristhian Belenzier.

Emerson Hyndman and Sean Kavanagh followed Woodrow’s lead, before Marek Rodak pulled off a fantastic save to deny Mateus Regis da Silva, getting down to his left with a strong hand.

The final penalty taker, facing the unenviable task of finishing the tie, was youngster George Williams. After placing the ball on the spot he buried his penalty bottom-right, sending the keeper the wrong way and the rest of the team into cup-final dreamland.

Fulham will face Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol in the final after they saw off Danish outfit Aalborg BK 4-0 in their respective semi-final fixture. The final will kick-off tonight at 6pm (local time), and can be legally streamed online.

Final Score: Fulham 1 Fluminense 1 (Fulham win 4-3 on penalties)

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