London – Fulham will face Brentford in the Championship playoff final after holding on to beat Cardiff 3-2 on aggregate despite a 2-1 defeat in the second leg of their semifinal on Thursday.
Curtis Nelson headed Cardiff back into the contest from a corner after just eight minutes to give the Welsh side hope of a comeback, but the visitors' lead lasted less than a minute as Neeskens Kebano swept home an equalizer.
Fulham then had a host of chances to put the tie to bed before the break, but was made to endure a nervy night as halftime substitute Lee Tomlin hooked in with his first touch to give Cardiff life again at the start of the second half.
Cardiff continued to pepper the Fulham box with crosses and came within inches of forcing extra time when Robert Glatzel fired over on the volley deep into stoppage time.
However, Scott Parker's men held out to set up a West London derby against Brentford at Wembley on Aug. 4 in the most lucrative game in world soccer, with promotion to the Premier League worth an estimated £170 million ($220 million) to the winner.
"It wasn't pretty at all," Fulham captain Tom Cairney told Sky Sports.
"It was the worst start you can think of. These 2-0 leads are a bit weird in your head. It feels comfortable but is not at the same time.
"I think we let ourselves down a little bit by not playing our normal game, and we invited pressure.
"But, look, we showed a different side to us at times as well in the second half especially. When our backs were against the wall, we dug in deep and we got over the line."
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