Fofana brace earns Burnley point against Fulham
David Datro Fofana netted two goals on his home debut as Burnley, currently struggling in the Premier League, staged a comeback from a 2-0 deficit to secure a draw against Fulham at Turf Moor.
With goals from Joao Palhinha and Rodrigo Muniz putting Fulham in total control in the first half, the Clarets appeared destined for their tenth home league loss of the season.
However, after coming on as a second-half substitute and cutting the lead in the 71st minute, Chelsea loanee Fofana turned the tide of the match. He then scored a stoppage-time equalizer and dashed into the stands, where he was surrounded by jubilant Burnley fans.
“We did well in the game, it was amazing for me,” Fofana told BBC Match of the Day. “We are happy right now with one point.”
On his celebration after the second goal, he said: “First I wanted to dance, but I was so happy that I wanted to celebrate with the fans.”
The draw secured only the fifth home league point of the season for Burnley, who remains in the relegation zone, seven points away from safety. Meanwhile, Fulham has climbed to 12th in the standings.
Fulham took the lead in the 17th minute when Palhinha redirected a near-post corner that deflected off Sander Berge and sailed over Burnley keeper James Trafford.
Shortly thereafter, within three minutes and 45 seconds, a well-placed long ball over the top exploited Burnley’s offside trap, with left-back Vitinho slow to push out in their high defensive line. Muniz capitalized on this, lobbing the ball over Trafford for his inaugural Premier League goal.
Fulham continued to dominate in the early stages of the second half, with Trafford making crucial saves, including pushing a Tosin Adarabioyo header over the bar and denying Muniz at his near post.
Burnley capitalized on Fulham keeper Bernd Leno misjudging a cross, allowing Fofana to head into an open net and pull one back.
In the dying moments of stoppage time, the Ivory Coast striker, who joined Burnley in January after a loan spell with Union Berlin, slid ahead of his marker to bundle in Wilson Odobert’s low cross at the near post.
Fulham’s winless streak in away matches in the top flight now extends to 11 games, and they haven’t won a league match in Burnley since April 1951, a stretch of 29 games.
“It’s a really difficult one to take,” Fulham manager Marco Silva said. “Overall our performance before 2-1 was at a very good level, everyone felt another goal was coming for us.
“The first goal we conceded gave them a boost, the crowd as well. As a team we were naive in that moment, and were punished.”
Burnley show grit as new signings impress
No Premier League team has stayed up after taking just 12 points from their first 22 matches – Burnley’s total before Saturday’s fixture.
They faced a crucial opportunity to initiate their escape plan here, given the challenging upcoming fixtures against Liverpool away and Arsenal at home. The Clarets had a promising start, with Odobert denied a golden chance by a last-gasp Tim Ream tackle in the eighth minute.
The young French winger also came close to scoring later in the first half after maneuvering through the away defense. However, Fulham’s rapid scoring sequence disrupted Vincent Kompany’s side.
The introduction of Fofana injected energy into the hosts, and there were positive showings from Kompany’s other January acquisitions, offering Burnley supporters a glimmer of hope for a potential survival bid.
Right-back Lorenz Assignon, loaned from Rennes, displayed vibrancy in his debut, while Maxime Esteve, the central defender signed on deadline day, provided stability after coming on at halftime.
“It was all round positive from the players we recruited,” Kompany told BBC Match of the Day. “Assignon against Willian played really well, and Fofana with his intensity gave us something different.”
This draw marks the first time in 19 Premier League games where Burnley have avoided defeat after falling behind.
“The two goals we conceded, that’s not something we can be happy about,” Kompany added. “The second half we had a go, it was exciting, and a great contribution from the new boys.
“The fans are brilliant, they have stuck behind us. There is fight in this team, we are going to carry on. 15 games left, we’ll go full steam ahead.”
While Fulham’s five-game losing streak away from Craven Cottage in the league is ended with a point, their unhappiness on the road still persists.
Personally, it was a fantastic day for Brazilian attacker Muniz, who took the starting position after Armando Broja, who had arrived on loan from Chelsea on deadline day, was sidelined due to a hamstring injury.
Muniz, whose playing time may soon be severely limited, used the opportunity to show manager Marco Silva what a valuable player he is by showing emotion as he celebrated his score.
“A very good performance from him,” Silva said of Muniz. “A very good first half, good moments in the second half too. He’s a young boy who works very hard.”