Goalkeeper's $246 million howler in 'football's richest game'

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, Brentford keeper David Raya had a moment to forget against Fulham at Wembley.
David Raya was caught out badly for Fulham's opening goal. Pic: Sky Sports/Getty

Left-back Joe Bryan was the unlikely Fulham hero in the English Championship play-off final as his extra-time brace earned a 2-1 victory over Brentford at Wembley and an instant Premier League return.

The Championship playoff has long been considered football's richest game - with the one-off match at Wembley netting the winners an estimated 135 million pounds ($A246m) for returning to the top flight of English football.

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With such high stakes in the match it makes errors like Brentford goalkeeper David Raya's even harder to stomach.

In a tense and subdued west London derby, Scott Parker's Brentford side created the better chances, but had a terrible misjudgement by Bees keeper Raya gifted Fulham an opening goal in extra time.

With neither side able to find the net in 90 minutes of regular time, it was Raya's horror moment in the 105th minute that propelled Fulham to victory.

Bryan's set-piece from 35 yards beat Raya at his near post and, while there were further goals in the second period of extra-time, it was this error by Brentford's Spanish keeper which proved crucial.

Raya was caught hopelessly off guard expecting Bryan to whip in a set-piece for his teammates as the quick-thinking Fulham star curled the ball past the keeper's near post and into the back of the net.

The unfortunately mistake saw Raya crucified by viewers on social media.

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The win sees the Craven Cottage club bounce back from relegation last season and this result also gives rookie boss Parker a first success of his fledgling managerial career.

After his opener, Bryan grabbed a second in the 117th minute to confirm the result and, even though Henrik Dalsgaard pulled one back for Brentford, they will start life in their new ground still in the Championship.

Fulham goal hero Bryan played down his starring role in the triumph.

"I'm not the hero, every single one of them, fans and people around us who has been with us all season is," he told Sky Sports.

Fulham players are seen celebrating their Championship play-off final win against Brentford.
Fulham celebrate their return to the Premier League. Pic: Getty

"We've been written off five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 times, I think I read somewhere we were supposed to be scared of them.

"We took it to them, we scored twice, they made it hard for us but they're a good team and they've been playing really well.

"I can't believe we made it straight back up."

Fulham skipper Tom Cairney also insisted Parker's side always sat in the promotion race under the radar.

"I can't put it into words. It feels special. We got written off a bit this year, no one talked about us, they talked about Brentford and Leeds."

with AAP