Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Thursday November 5 2009
Fulham finished with nine men as Claudio Ranieri continued his record of never having been beaten by a Fulham side.
In an Olympic Stadium that had more empty seats than occupied ones, it was to be Fulham that were to shock their hosts with a first half lead.
It was a cagey start by both sides, Roma had forced a couple of corners but as the seventeenth minute approached the action heated up.
Clint Dempsey saw a shot saved by Doni, the Roma keeper, but seconds later as Dempsey thread a ball into the path of Diomansy Kamara the striker was clipped by Andreoli in the penalty area.
With Danny Murphy out injured, Kamara stepped up and coolly sent Doni the wrong way to give Fulham the lead.
In a surreal atmosphere it was the strains of
We`re all going on a European tour
that rippled around the stadium.
Roma had a good chance to get level but Mexes flicked his header just the wrong side of the post.
Mexes also though he`d won a penalty when the ball hit the arm of Pantsil but the referee waved play on!
The second half saw AS Roma make two changes whilst Fulham introduced Erik Nevland in place of Kamara.
Sadly, Nevland wasn`t to be on the pitch long. Four minutes into the second half he was shown a straight red for a tackle form behind. The decision was questionable and even the AS Roma players looked shocked.
Down to ten men it was always going to be a difficult job to hold on and for the next twenty minutes AS Roma laid siege to the Fulham goal.
Taddei fired over from thirty yards, Andreolli headed wide when well placed, Guberti saw a shot tipped over by Schwarzer, Baptista saw a low shot saved and Taddei saw a shot deflected wide.
From the resulting corner though the levee was breached when John Arne Riise smashed in a shot from twenty yards that took two deflections; the second off his brother Bjorn Helga.
It was 1-1 with sixty-nine minutes played.
The Roman side continued to apply the pressure and Di Rossi saw a shot just clear the bar from thirty yards before, in the seventy-sixth minute AS Roma took the lead with Okaka Chuka heading powerfully home from close range.
At 2-1 it looked to be all over.
Menez had a shot cleared off the line after Schwarzer made an error punching clear whilst Schwarzer then redeemed himself with a good stop from a Baptista bicycle kick.
As the game headed into injury time Fulham were reduced to nine men when Konchesky was also shown a straight red, another poor decision.
We may have lost but we`re still not out of it with two group games to play.
Date:Thursday November 5 2009
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