Fulham 2-1 Norwich City: Player ratings

Marek Rodak: A quiet night nearly turned into a very uneventful one for Fulham’s second round shoot-out hero after Borja Sainz brought Norwich back into a game that looked beyond them. The Slovakian stopper made a crucial first half save to deny Ui-Jo Hwang in front of goal when it seemed simpler for the Nottingham Forest loanee to score. Rodak wasn’t called upon to do anything else beyond the routine, but it may concern Marco Silva how open his side seemed to counter attacks. Stronger sides can – and will – exploit that. 7

Timothy Castagne: Our new Belgian full back has looked very assured in his last two outings but he proved susceptible to the pace and persistence of Przemyslaw Placheta, particularly in the first half. The Polish international looked like he had Castagne on toast at times – and although the former Leicester City defender looked comfortable with the ball at his feet and advanced into offensive positions with real regularity those defensive misjudgements were a little jarring. 6

Fode Ballo-Toure: A successful debut for our AC Milan loanee, who was active early on and appeared to be Antonee Robinson on steroids. Along the left wing, he complemented Willian brilliantly and moved the ball forward with authority, as evidenced by the times he sprinted into seemingly endless space in the middle of the pitch and continued going. Ballo-Toure absolutely deserved the standing ovation he received as he departed the field despite growing weary as the game progressed and bing substituted by Robinson with 20 minutes remaining. 7

Issa Diop: The Frenchman used his physicality and reading of the game to give Fulham a strong base to build from at the back. He won plenty of headers in the air and was pretty successful on the floor as well, coming out on top in three tackles. Perhaps his best challenge of the evening on the rampaging Jon Rowe saw the ball break kindly for Sainz to eventually equalise, so fortune was certainly hiding from the former West Ham centre back. 7

Calvin Bassey: Not a good night for the former Ajax defender, whose evening under early after he was taken off with a back complaint. Bassey didn’t seize his chance to stake a claim for Tim Ream’s spot on the left side of central defence as this was an edgy display, characterised by cagey clearances and unreliable distribution. Silva told the press afterwards that Bassey had previously been dealing with a back injury so he will need to be monitored closely by Fulham’s medical derby ahead of the SW6 derby. 5

Joao Palhinha: It was something of a surprise to see the object of Bayern Munich’s affections in the starting line-up with what is to come in the league, but Palhinha makes such a difference to the tenacity and quality of Fulham’s midfield that you can’t blame Silva for shoving him in. The balance of Fulham’s midfield was altered with Iwobi playing in the number ten role and Tom Cairney alongside the ex-Sporting schemer, which meant Palhinha had to do more work than he does with Harrison Reed in the engine room. To prove he is human, Norwich’s route back into the match game from a poor Palhinha pass – but it didn’t prove too costly ultimately. 6

Tom Cairney: Fulham’s skipper and peerless playmaker dictated the game effortlessly from that deep-lying central midfield role that suits him perfectly these days. It seemed preposterous that the Canaries gave Cairney, one of the country’s finest passes, so much room within which to play – but he took advantage with a number of lovely balls, especially in the first half, whilst his delivery from set-plays was also excellent. 7

Harry Wilson: The Welsh winger does tend to drift in and out of proceedings as a wide man who cuts inside but there were glimpses of his quality in this encounter. He had a hand in Fulham’s second, supplying a lovely lay-off for Iwobi, and might have scored himself from a clever corner routine. His volley looked destined for the net but was cleared off the line before having another shot blocked. 7

Willian: The Brazilian veteran roamed with intent from the outset, playing five key passes – the most of anyone – according to the statisticians. Nobody needs reminding just how important Willian is to Fulham’s fortunes and there are signs, after an encouraging afternoon at Selhurst Park last weekend, that he’s beginning to recapture that form. Clipped in the free-kick for the opening goal and several of his corners led to chances that – if taken – could have led to a much more comfortable evening. 7

Alex Iwobi: A fantastic Fulham debut from a signing that some were certainly very iffy about. Iwobi thrived in the number ten role and his dynamism and invention will certainly give Silva a selection dilemma in the weeks to come. The Nigerian international is far too versatile to merely be considered Andreas Pereira’s understudy, but he produced an outstanding display – setting up the first goal for Vinicius before scoring a sumptuous seocnd with a modicum of fuss. 9

Carlos Vinicius: Having been left out at Selhurst Park, Vinicius grabbed his chance to fill his boots against a second-string Championship side. He poached a simpler opener – like against Luton being in the right place at the right foot proved pivotal – and posed problems for the Canaries defence throughout. Could and should have had more, especially when he was played in by Wilson in the second period. 7


Antonee Robinson: Continued where Ballo-Toure had left off by bombing up and down the left as we’ve come to expect. He made a crucial defensive intervention to halt a Norwich attack on the death by using his recovery pace to defuse some danger. 6

Rodrigo Muniz: Ran a lot and was really unlucky not to score with a thunderous header that George Long skillfully saved. 6

Bobby Decordova-Reid: The Jamaican’s work ethic is probably his best quality, and with a game to win, there was no slacking off here. 6

Tim Ream: The American replaced Bassey for the final ten or so minutes and guided Fulham into the fourth round. 6

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