Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Thursday September 17 2009
Despite making a massive nine changes Fulham came back from behind to earn a Europa League point in Sofia courtesy of a goal from Diomansy Kamara.
Roy Hodgson made the promised nine changes for the Europa League fixture in Sofia but, to be fair, it still looked a pretty solid Fulham team even if the bench looked a bit on the youthful side.
In a stadium that was full of partisan and noisy CSKA supporters the first half was a cagey affair. Indeed up until David Stockdale made the first save of the game, in the thirty-eighth minute UEFA could well have been forgiven their experiment of placing a 5th and a 6th official adjacent to the goal lines was a major error.
But after a period of banal activity before Stockdale was forced to save low down near his post from Stoyanov, the game suddenly took on a different perspective. On the stroke of half time Jonathan Greening saw a shot blocked and when the ball broke to Simon Davies his shot was saved by the keeper.
Possibly the only other highlight, or should that be lowlight, of the first half was a deserved booking for Jonathan Greening for a rash challenge.
The second half started with Chris Smalling picking up a booking for, well you tell me! After looking comfortable for so long though, the home side finally broke through our defence with just over a quarter of an hour played in the second half.
The CSKA substitute, the wonderfully named Michel Platini, scored from the edge of the area. Thankfully, the lead was to last only three minutes before Diomansy Kamara equalised racing onto a ball from Erik Nevland and beating the home keeper to the ball to slot home.
With the game far more entertaining than in the first half, Sofia should have gone in front again but Todorov missed the goal by miles with a stinker of an effort. Mind you when Nevland also saw his effort go wide two minutes later that could have been our chance to go ahead for the first time in the match.
Stockdale then justified his selection by tipping an effort from Todorov over the bar as Fulham started to soak up a little pressure. A rare venture into enemy territory saw Kamara fire well wide as that final whistle began to draw nearer.
That was the last of the action and an under-strength Fulham side took a point they probably deserved.
Date:Thursday September 17 2009
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