Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a first-half hat-trick as Fulham beat Swansea City 3-1 to climb to third in the Championship.
Mitrovic made it 10 goals in nine club games in 2021-22 as Fulham ruthlessly exposed Swansea’s deficiencies.
Marco Silva’s team eased to a first victory in three league outings despite Jamie Paterson pulling one back for a Swansea side who had their moments.
A first defeat in five second-tier games leaves the Welsh club in 19th.
Swansea passed the ball with purpose in spells, but defensive vulnerability was an issue from the outset and Fulham took advantage.
Harry Wilson had already seen a penalty appeal turned down by the time Mitrovic began leaving his imprint on the game.
Swansea half-cleared a Neeskens Kebano cross, but Tim Ream headed the ball back into the penalty area and Mitrovic turned Kyle Naughton before guiding a low shot beyond Ben Hamer.
The goal should have been ruled out as Mitrovic was half a yard offside, but there was nothing dubious about his second other than Swansea’s defending.
Ben Cabango’s pass was picked off by Joe Bryan, who sent Kebano surging down the left before the winger’s low cross was scuffed into the bottom corner by Mitrovic from close range.
There were further Fulham chances, with Mitrovic heading straight at Hamer and Bobby Decordova-Reid firing wastefully over, before Swansea pulled one back.
Joel Piroe’s measured through ball sent Paterson into space, and he coolly cut back onto his right foot to leave Denis Odoi and home keeper Paulo Gazzaniga helpless as he curled a shot inside the far post.
Yet Fulham swiftly re-established their two-goal advantage as a rapid counter-attack ended with Odoi crossing for Mitrovic to claim his third goal of the night – and his 52nd in 92 appearances at this level – with a clinical near-post finish.
Swansea had kept four clean sheets in five league games before this, but had no answer to a Fulham side who are the Championship’s top scorers after 10 games.
Russell Martin’s team should have had a second goal of their own early in the second half only for Flynn Downes to lift over from 12 yards after fine work from Ethan Laird, who then saw an effort of his own deflect onto the crossbar.
Fulham might have claimed a fourth goal when Odoi’s effort was saved by Hamer, but by then the points were sealed.
- 23BryanSubstituted forMawsonat 56′minutes
- 8WilsonSubstituted forCavaleiroat 71′minutes
- 14De Cordova-Reid
- 9MitrovicSubstituted forMuniz Carvalhoat 69′minutes
- 19Muniz Carvalho
- 5CabangoBooked at 23mins
- 4DownesSubstituted forCullenat 68′minutes
- 24BidwellSubstituted forLatibeaudiereat 74′minutes
- 10NtchamSubstituted forSmithat 32′minutes
- Josh Smith
Match ends, Fulham 3, Swansea City 1.
Second Half ends, Fulham 3, Swansea City 1.
Attempt missed. Joel Latibeaudiere (Swansea City) header from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Matt Grimes with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Bobby De Cordova-Reid.
Foul by Joel Latibeaudiere (Swansea City).
Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Joel Latibeaudiere (Swansea City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Tim Ream (Fulham).
Attempt missed. Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ben Cabango.
Matt Grimes (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham).
Korey Smith (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Harrison Reed (Fulham).
Attempt saved. Rodrigo Muniz (Fulham) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Tosin Adarabioyo.
Attempt blocked. Ethan Laird (Swansea City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Liam Cullen.
Attempt blocked. Joël Piroe (Swansea City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Liam Cullen.
Joel Latibeaudiere (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Neeskens Kebano (Fulham).
Offside, Swansea City. Jamie Paterson tries a through ball, but Joël Piroe is caught offside.