Fulham lost 2-1 to Cardiff in the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final but held on to progress 3-2 on aggregate and set up a final with west London rivals Brentford.
The hosts finished eight points better off than their opponents at the end of the regular season and held a 2-0 lead from Monday's first leg in south Wales.
No team has overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit in the play-offs but Cardiff gave themselves real hope inside eight minutes at Craven Cottage through Curtis Nelson's close-range header.
Fulham required 54 seconds to restore their two-goal aggregate advantage, however, with Neeskens Kebano - on target late in the first leg - sweeping a low shot past Alex Smithies.
The tie took another twist 82 seconds into the second half when Lee Tomlin, introduced at half-time, volleyed in after Nathan Mendez-Laing's header was parried by Marek Rodak.
Aboubakar Kamara had a long-ranger tipped on to the post by Alex Smithies before Cardiff asked the questions late on, though Fulham withstood the pressure and will face neighbours Brentford - 3-2 aggregate winners over Swansea City on Wednesday - at Wembley in five days.