By Sonia Twigg, PA
Manor Solomon struck for a fourth time in as many matches as Fulham reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Leeds.
Both goals showcased individual skill, with Solomon’s curled effort second only to a stunning strike from distance to break the deadlock from Joao Palhinha.
Leeds continued to show improvement since Javi Gracia’s appointment but were unable to book a place in the last eight for the first time in 20 years despite having a number of chances, including a slightly controversial disallowed goal.
Fulham, who have exceeded all expectations in the top flight this year, reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009-10.
Georginio Rutter thought he had scored his first goal for Leeds when he tapped the ball home after Marek Rodak had palmed the ball into the path of the 20-year-old, but referee Chris Kavanagh ruled it out for a soft foul in the area and VAR did not intervene.
It was Fulham who took the lead after 21 minutes when Palhinha capitalised after intercepting an attempted pass. The Portugal international drove forward before expertly curling the ball into the top corner with a stunning finish for his first club goal since December.
Leeds came close again in the final moments of first-half stoppage time when Wilfried Gnonto’s looped ball into the box was headed goalwards by Rutter, but the ball dropped onto the inside of the post and Fulham were able to clear.
Rodak was called into action early in the second half, parrying behind a Gnonto shot after he was played in by Crysencio Summerville.
Leeds continued to test the goalkeeper and started the second half significantly more brightly than the hosts.
Just as the visitors had been piling on the pressure for an equaliser, it was Fulham who doubled their lead through the in-form Solomon.
The winger, on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, curled in from the edge of the box after playing a one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic to create the opening.
Solomon has impressed in recent weeks after a difficult season when he spent almost five months on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury, with his recovery carefully managed by the club.
After going 2-0 up the hosts continued to push, with Mitrovic having a goal ruled out for offside, and despite a flurry of chances for Leeds in the final 10 minutes, Rodak remained equal to them.