Rodrigo Muniz bags brace as Fulham return to winning ways against Bournemouth
Muniz was given the nod over January loan signing Armando Broja and scored twice, while Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Cherries defender Marcos Senesi also got in on the act.
Muniz, who scored his first-ever Premier League goal in last week’s 2-2 draw with Burnley, looked bright from the start during the victory for the west Londoners.
The Brazilian jinked past three defenders – showing exceptional ball control – before being brought down on the edge of Bournemouth’s area.
Marco Silva’s decision to start Muniz continued to pay off into the fifth minute when he was heavily involved with Fulham’s opening goal.
The tenacious striker evaded his marker down the right channel before his driven cross, which seemed routine for Lewis Cook to clear, caused the midfielder to slip, allowing De Cordova-Reid to power home from close range.
Tom Cairney recovered after taking a ball to the face and seemed unfazed when he performed a neat turn on halfway, unleashing Antonee Robinson, who was denied by goalkeeper Neto after an impressive reaction save at his left-hand post.
Muniz’s electric start reached another level when he poached Fulham’s second of the match, nine minutes before the break.
Willian lofted a cross to De Cordova-Reid at the back post, who turned creator by nodding his effort into the danger zone. The potent Muniz started behind the defender but reacted quickest and scored from inside the six-yard area with a roofed finish.
Bournemouth needed a response and they got just that – five minutes into the second half – when Senesi pulled one back for the visitors.
Marcus Tavernier’s corner was knocked down by Dominic Solanke before centre-back Senesi showed fantastic composure to control the ball and score on the half-volley to reduce the deficit.
But just two minutes later, Fulham responded in fashion when Muniz grabbed his second of the match.
Experienced technician Willian floated a similar cross to that of the second goal. But this time the unmarked Muniz drifted to the back post before his first-time strike smashed into the net and past the helpless Neto.
Broja came off the bench and looked to stamp his authority on the game. The Chelsea youth prospect hustled the back four and won a corner after the visitors were forced to cut out his dangerous pass into the box.
Bournemouth searched for a late fightback but the Cottagers held on through seven added minutes to leapfrog their opponents into 12th.