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Brentford 1 Fulham 2: Watch Bryan bamboozle Bees with 40-yard free-kick as his double seals £135m Premier League bonanza

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JOE BRYAN scored the two goals of his life to send Fulham back into the Premier League big-time.

The left-back had only netted once in the league for Fulham before his Wembley heroics

Joe Bryan celebrates his stunning free-kick to break the deadlock in the Championship play-off final

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Joe Bryan celebrates his stunning free-kick to break the deadlock in the Championship play-off finalCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The left-back was the hero with both goals for Fulham to secure their spot back in the Premier League

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The left-back was the hero with both goals for Fulham to secure their spot back in the Premier LeagueCredit: Reuters

But when the game moved into extra-time he came up with extra-special goals that any world-class striker, let alone a defender, would be proud of.

After 105-minutes of cagey football that did not live up to expectations, the Cottagers won a free-kick 35 yards out to the left of goal.

Bryan looked up towards the likes of star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic – who had only come on at the end of normal time – and everyone was waiting for him to swing the ball in.

Brentford keeper David Raya was anticipating the cross – but, as he ran up to take, he completely deceived him by firing straight towards goal.

The Spaniard desperately tried to recover by diving backwards – but it was too late. The ball nestled into the net and boss Scott Parker punched the air and celebrated as though he had scored the goal himself.

Then, with two minutes left, you would never have thought Bryan had played 118 minutes as he sprinted up field to play a quick one-two with Mitrovic before slotting past Raya with a classy finish.

Brentford goalkeeper David Raya could only scramble across his goal in vain as Bryan's long-range effort hit the back of the net

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Brentford goalkeeper David Raya could only scramble across his goal in vain as Bryan’s long-range effort hit the back of the netCredit: PA:Press Association
Bryan kept his cool when he raced clear and slotted into the back of the net with his weaker right foot

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Bryan kept his cool when he raced clear and slotted into the back of the net with his weaker right footCredit: Reuters

He will probably never score twice again in a match – let alone net goals as valuable with Fulham set to pocket at least £135million for regaining their place in the Premier League.

Henrik Dalsgaard pulled one back with seconds left – but it was not going to dampen Fulham’s night.

The only thing that was going to do that was the champagne itself, which was spraying freely in all directions.

Parker – who has won a promotion in his first full season as a manager – was lifted and thrown up and down by the team.

“We’re going up, Fulham are going up,” they chanted.

Parker deserved this night. Never once did he panic or flinch when the going got tough in the Championship. But that is just typical of the man we have all known from his playing career.

It is rare for a team to bounce back straight away after relegation yet he has turned a team of losers into winners in just 12 months.

And in the showpiece he tactically got it spot on.

He sat Harrison Reed and Tom Cairney in front of the back four and completely suffocated the life out of Brentford.

Much has been made – and rightly so – of the Bees’ frontline of Said Benrahama, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins.

But so good were the Cottagers, they made them look more like an old banger. They spluttered and stalled their way through the match.

You now have to wonder if Brentford will be able to hang on to their star assets, who between them scored 59 goals.

Brentford felt Harrison Reed's lunge on Christian Norgaard was worthy of a red card rather than the yellow Martin Atkinson showed

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Brentford felt Harrison Reed’s lunge on Christian Norgaard was worthy of a red card rather than the yellow Martin Atkinson showedCredit: Sky Sports
Scott Parker and Thomas Frank were both aiming to win promotion in their first full season in charge

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Scott Parker and Thomas Frank were both aiming to win promotion in their first full season in chargeCredit: Reuters

Benrahma has attracted interest from Chelsea while Watkins is said to be wanted by West Ham and Leeds.

Most neutrals would have loved to have seen Brentford go up – but, just like they did against Stoke and Barnsley in the final two games of the season, they could not come up with the performance to get them over the line.

They will move to their new Kew Bridge home next month playing Championship football – and no doubt will look to continue their fine wheeling and dealing in the transfer market.

Mitrovic only played a cameo role for Fulham – coming on at the death in normal time after not fully recovering from a hamstring injury to play a full part.

But, in Josh Onomah, they have found a fine player who is a real handful.

The striker– who has been outstanding for Fulham in recent weeks – started superbly and got the better of Ethan Pinnock early on before forcing David Raya into a good early save.

It was a cagey affair at an empty Wembley with few chances for either side during normal time

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It was a cagey affair at an empty Wembley with few chances for either side during normal timeCredit: Reuters
Henrik Dalsgaard headed in a consolation in the 124th minute but it proved too little too late

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Henrik Dalsgaard headed in a consolation in the 124th minute but it proved too little too lateCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Then after picking up a pass from Neeskens Kebano, Onomah turned Pinnock and his angled shot forced another top save from Raya.

Frank complained the EFL did not have VAR in Championship play-offs after Rico Henry was wrongly sent-off at Swansea in their first-leg before it was rescinded.

Well, this would have only strengthened his view when Harrison Reed was lucky to escape with a yellow card after a thunderous late tackle on Norgaard.

And, later, Cairney was fortunate to only be booked after an equally poor tackle on Benrahma.

Both were studs-up challenges.

Kebano came so close to scoring from a free-kick 25 yards out that missed by inches while Bobby Decordova-Reed scuffed an effort when well placed.

Watkins finally had a look when he fired a powerful shot from just inside the box that was pushed over by Marek Rodak.

But then came the thrilling extra-time finale and Fulham are back.

Skipper Tom Cairney is hoisted in the air as Fulham celebrate at the full-time whistle

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Skipper Tom Cairney is hoisted in the air as Fulham celebrate at the full-time whistleCredit: Reuters
Cairney lifts the Championship play-off trophy aloft for the second time in three years

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Cairney lifts the Championship play-off trophy aloft for the second time in three yearsCredit: Reuters

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Real Madrid appear to reassign No 11 shirt to Marco Asensio BEFORE he completes Tottenham return 

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real madrid appear to reassign no 11 shirt to marco asensio before he completes tottenham return

Real Madrid appear to have already reassigned Gareth Bale’s number 11 shirt before the Welshman has completed his move to Tottenham.

Sportsmail exclusively revealed on Wednesday that Bale has agreed a season-long loan deal to return to north London after his relationship with Los Blancos has deteriorated in recent years.

And the Spanish giants appear to have wasted no time in cutting ties with their four-time Champions League winner after his number 11 shirt was reassigned to Marco Asensio on the official La Liga website.

Real Madrid appear to have wasted no time in cuttingties with outgoing forward Gareth Bale

The Spanish club appear to have assigned his number 11 shirt to Marco Asensio

Real Madrid appear to have already assigned Gareth Bale’s number 11 shirt before he has left

The 31-year-old’s move back to Spurs has not yet been announced but arrived at the club’s Enfield training ground earlier today to finalise the deal.

It remains to be seen whether Bale will be given back his iconic number 11 at Spurs, with Erik Lamela currently holding it after being assigned it when the star left for Real in 2013.

Bale will earn more than £13million in wages as part of the one-year deal negotiated by Tottenham chairman Levy. After flying into Luton airport shortly after midday on Friday, he was driven to the club’s training base and was greeted by excitable supporters giving him a hero’s welcome. 

Even with the deal close to completion, Bale’s manager-to-be Jose Mourinho refused to be drawn into public comment on the Bale move after Thursday night’s 2-1 Europa League victory against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria.

The Welshman is expected to complete a return to Tottenham on loan in the coming days

The Welshman is expected to complete a return to Tottenham on loan in the coming days

Bale gave a thumbs up to supporters as he was driven into Tottenham's training ground

Bale gave a thumbs up to supporters as he was driven into Tottenham’s training ground 

‘I can’t comment,’ he said. ‘I don’t comment on something that I don’t know. For me, at this moment, until Gareth Bale is a Tottenham player I still think and respect the fact that he is a Real Madrid player. 

‘I am not going to comment on a Real Madrid player.’ 

Bale became a fan favourite at Spurs where he scored 56 goals and provided 58 assists in 203 appearances.

In 2012-13 he was crowned Tottenham’s Player of the Year and also claimed the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season award. 

The Welshman has won four Champions League titles since making the move to Spain for a then-world record fee in 2013 but has found life tough under Zinedine Zidane. 

The French boss has struggled to take to Bale and has largely kept him out of the side since returning for his second spell in charge. 

Bale saw a move to the Chinese Super League collapse last summer but having played such a peripheral role in their title win last season, both the club and the player have concluded it is best for him to move, at least temporarily, elsewhere to return to his best.  

Bale is a four-time Champions League winner with Real but relationship with club broke down

Bale is a four-time Champions League winner with Real but relationship with club broke down

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Ayr Tips: Ayr Gold Cup runners and riders – Your pinstickers’ guide to today’s big handicap

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ayr tips ayr gold cup runners and riders your pinstickers guide to todays big handicap

IT’S Lup for the Cup at Ayr.

MR LUPTON showed speed and heart to win a big race at The Curragh last time and can follow up.

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Stone Of Destiny was impressive at Doncaster and looks a threat alongside Nahaarr who looks on the upgrade. Spanish City and Young Fire are bigger prices worth a look.

GULLIVER 3

GULL flies. Below par lately but just 2lb higher than when going close in a hot race at The Curragh in July. Place shout off big weight.

KYNREN 1

KYN won’t win. Had a wind op after two poor runs this season. Still 4lb higher than last win and best over 7f.

MAJOR JUMBO 2

JUMBO heavy. Drops to handicaps after modest Listed runs. Likes this trip and ridden by capable claimer but still has big weight.

HEY JONESY 2

HEY ho. Inconsistent but pulled off shock when winning Wokingham before poor run at Goodwood. Chance on best form over ideal trip.

LAHORE 1

LA sore. Good win at York in July before two poor efforts since. Would be happier over 5f and has too much weight.

MR LUPTON 5

LUP for Cup. Impressive Curragh win last week and likes a quick turnaround. Trip ideal and rider’s claim takes care of 5lb penalty. Solid chance.

BARBILL 2

HEFTY Bill. Fair sixth in Portland last time after win in lesser race at Chester. Likes this trip and any ground but needs a bit more.

NAHAARR 4

YES to Nah. Backed off boards before poor Stewards’ Cup run after easy Newbury victory. Trip suits and could be have more to come on this more suitable track. 

BIELSA 2

BIEL tolls. Finished last season well but has struggled this year. Best form has come in soft ground over this trip. Chance if the rain comes.

Don’t miss the best of Sun Racing

WISE COUNSEL 2

WISE guy. Goes well here and fair effort at Ascot last time over 7f. Can be awkward ride so could do with first-time cheekpieces helping.

KOROPICK 1

NOT the Pick. Was a Group 3 winner on the AW over this trip. Has been off three years so should need this comeback.

SPANISH CITY 3

CITY break. Third in the Wokingham on comeback and good effort over this trip back at Ascot last time. Yard in form, on fair weight and one of better outsiders.

SOLDIER’S MINUTE 3

WAIT a Minute. Didn’t fire at Donny last week after cracking second in hot race at York. Likes this trip and only beaten two lengths last year. Place shout.

STONE OF DESTINY 4

DESTINY calls. Big run to win Portland at Donny last week in style and every chance under 5lb penalty. Comes from behind so will need a little luck but major player.

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AIR RAID 2

UP in Air. Back to form with a solid third at Hamilton latest, clocking a fair time. Off same mark but this is a lot tougher.

ANOTHER BATT 3

BATT mobile. Last run over this trip brought Thirsk win in sharp time and didn’t get home in Ireland last time. On fair mark and much happier over this distance.

RAYONG 2

RAY wrong. Best form has come over 5f and poor over this trip at Chester latest. Only three so could improve but needs to.

YOUNG FIRE 3

FIRED up. Improved to win over 7f at Haydock last time with lots in hand. Could finish race well if keeping up with early pace.

COLD STARE 2

COLD frozen. Hit and miss performer who came good to win over 7f at Goodwood in the mud. Has won over this trip but should lack pace.

GABRIAL THE WIRE 2

WIRE snapped. Modest efforts at Chester lately and has shown best over further. Should be outpaced at this level.

BUNGEE JUMP 2

JUMP gun. Still 8lb higher than last win at Newmarket in June. Trip suits and likes any ground. Looks outclassed.

ARECIBO 3

BO for it. Goes close a lot without winning and was fair fourth in Portland at Donny. Longer trip not an issue and could sneak into places again. 

WENTWORTH FALLS 1

FALLS down. Landed decent Donny win over this trip in June but below par since including back there last time. Lot to find.

STAXTON 3

TON up. Here off two good wins over this trip at Ripon. Penalty makes life tougher but in great heart and can’t be dismissed.

LEXINGTON DASH 2

MUST Dash. Still 6lb higher than when winning at Newmarket in June. Fair run over 7f last time but needs more again.

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Ayr racing tips: Ayr Gold Cup trends – we help you find the winner of the valuable contest live on ITV

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ayr racing tips ayr gold cup trends we help you find the winner of the valuable contest live on itv scaled

NAHAARR can star in the Ayr Gold Cup.

Horses aged six and above have a modest recent record in this hot sprint.

NINTCHDBPICT000267558017

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Credit: PA:Press Association

So we’ll start by crossing out Gulliver, Kynren, Major Jumbo, Lahore, Mr Lupton, Koropick, Spanish City and Wentworth Falls.You have to go back to 2010 for the last Ayr Gold Cup winner rated less than 100 by the handicapper.So that’s the end for Bielsa, Wise Counsel, Soldier’s Minute, Stone Of Destiny, Air Raid, Another Batt, Rayong, Young Fire, Cold Stare, Gabriel The Wire, Bungee Jump, Arecibo, Staxton and Lexington Dash.And then there were three! From the massive field, those two trends mean we are left with just Hey Jonesy, Barbill and Nahaarr still standing.

We have had plenty of big prices win this race so it could pay dividends to have a small interest in Hey Jonesy and Barbill who are both around the 20-1 mark.

But NAHAARR looks the clear pick of that trio. He was an easy winner at Newbury two runs ago before being punted off the boards for the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

That quirky track wasn’t to his liking and he should be much happier on Ayr’s more galloping surface.

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