In-form winger Martial Godo bagged another brace as Fulham under 21s reached the semi-finals of the Premier League International Cup by beating Sparta Prague 4-2 at Motspur Park last night.
Steve Wigley’s side established a two-goal cushion before half time thanks to strikes from skipper Sonny Hilton and Luke Harris on the day that the teenager added a year to his Craven Cottage contract after being named in the Welsh senior squad. Although the Whites were rocked by a brilliant free-kick from Patrik Vydra, Godo’s second half double secured a spot in the last four of the competition despite Vydra’s second of the evening.
Fulham began brightly with Terry Ablade storming clear down the left but his venomous drive was superbly saved by Filip Nalezinek. The Sparta goalkeeper dashed off his line to deny Ablade again a couple of minutes after the forward was released by an excellent ball from George Okkas. Harris was next to go close as the hosts continued to pile on the pressure with the midfielder heading over a cross from the returning Matt Dibley-Dias.
The young Whites eventually broke the deadlock with a goal that owed more to route one than sophisticated. George Wickens belted the ball downfield and Hilton showed deft invention to drift inside his marker and fire into the net. The playmaker turned provider for an almost immediate second, supplying the perfect cross that Harris stabbed over the line – and suddenly it seemed a long way back for Sparta.
The visitors earned their lifeline just before the break when Vydra’s astonishingly long-range free kick left Wickens clutching at air. They seemed to be on the front foot at the start of the second period, but Fulham made it 3-1 against the run of play. Hilton played a raking ball through the Sparta defence and, after displaying immaculate control, Godo strode forward and slipped an assured finish under Nalezinek. Godo got a second of the evening shortly afterwards, although his shot took a nick off a defender before roaring in the top corner.
Jay Williams was agonisingly close to adding a fifth before Vydra tucking in the rebound after his initial effort was well saved by the goalkeeper. Ablade was twice denied after that and Godo just lacked composure in stoppage time as he rued an opportunity to clinch a hat-trick.
FULHAM UNDER 21s: Wickens, Williams, Araujo, Tanton, Charlie Robinson, Godo, Harris, Hilton, Dibley-Dias, Okkas (Sanderson 79), Ablade (McFarlane 82). Subs (not used): Allen, de Jesus, Gofford, Gordon, Works.
BOOKED: Araujo, C. Robinson, Williams.
GOALS: Hilton (30), Harris (34), Godo (52, 53).
SPARTA PRAGUE: Nalezinek; Vydra, Vecerka, Hodous, Horák, Danek, Gedeon (Lehocky 45), Kastanek, Okeke (Jonas 45), Karabec (Mokrovics 70), Schanelec (Rus 70). Subs (not used): Tuma, Kukucka..
GOALS: Vydra (40, 71).