Nigerian international, Ola Aina, scored his first goal for Fulham Monday night as they defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-0 to claim their first victory of the 2020/21 English Premier League season.
Four Nigerians were in action as Fulham and West Brom, two of the promoted teams from the Championship last season were lurked in battle for the three points at stake.
Aina’s Super Eagles teammate, Semi Ajayi, was in action for all 90 minutes for West Brom while Tosin Adarabioyo and Ademola Lookman played on Aina’s half of the field for Fulham.
The result lifted Fulham out of the relegation zone while West Brom dropped into the drop zone.
Bobby Decordova-Reid headed Scott Parker’s side ahead from close range after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s cushioned header had set him up.
The hosts doubled their lead four minutes later and Mitrovic was again involved as he laid the ball off for Ola Aina, who struck spectacularly from 20 yards out.
The Cottagers came close to scoring a third but both Tom Cairney and Decordova-Reid had efforts cleared off the goalline within seconds of each other.
West Brom hit the crossbar through Conor Townsend’s misjudged cross when it was goalless, but Slaven Bilic’s side remain without a league win in 2020-21 and replace Fulham in the relegation zone.
This match was between two of the sides who had earned promotion from the Championship in 2019-20, West Brom coming second behind champions Leeds, before Fulham beat west London rivals Brentford in the Wembley play-off final.
But both have found life at the top level much tougher, with Fulham only picking up one point from their opening six games, while West Brom had drawn three and lost three.
The visitors almost took a fortunate third-minute lead when Townsend’s cross nearly caught out home goalkeeper Alphonse Areola but bounced off the woodwork. However, the hosts then became the better side with the lively Ademola Lookman shooting wide from 20 yards out.
Fulham’s opening goal came in the 26th minute as Antonee Robinson’s left-wing cross was headed back into the danger zone by the impressive Mitrovic and Decordova-Reid converted for his third goal of the season in all competitions.
It only took the home side four minutes to move 2-0 in front. Aina started the move on the right flank, he linked up with Cordova-Reid and played the ball into the feet of Mitrovic, who, with his back to goal, laid the ball back into Aina’s path and he struck a beautiful effort into the top corner for a spectacular first Premier League goal.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa could have even made it 3-0 before the break as he collected the ball following a fine run from captain Cairney but could only shoot at West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
Fulham had been on a run of four away matches since losing 3-0 at home to Aston Villa, after which co-owner Tony Khan apologised to the club’s fans, but their supporters would have been much happier after this showing.