Fulham 1 CSKA Sofia 0
I`m not sure who`s writing the script but our European adventure is turning into a thing of awe.
After five group games everything remain son a knife-edge. If Fulham are to make the knockout stages and be thrown in amongst those who were not quite good enough to clinch a knockout place in the Champions League, we need to go to Basle and win. A draw, of any magnitude, will simply not be enough.
To my delight, even though it took me an eternity to get home hence the late match report, Craven Cottage, from what I could see last night, was almost full with a healthy support from Sofia to cheer their team on even though they stood no chance of qualifying.
As Roy Hodgson had suggested in the build up, Danny Murphy was back in the starting eleven after a significant absence through injury. And it was to be Danny that was to feature in the opening exchanges, but for all the wrong reasons when he blazed a penalty over the bar, denying the home crowd, the chance to relax.
Thankfully, salvation was at hand eight minutes later when Riise crossed and Gera was on hand to head home. At 1-0 Fulham had every chance to put the game out of their opponents reach but chance after chance went begging. Davies shot wide from a decent position and Gera volleyed horribly over when presented with a decent chance.
Nevertheless, Fulham went into the break in the lead but the break seemed to disrupt the teams rhythm and courtesy of a few substitutions the visitors started to get a foothold in the game. In fact it became a nervy finish and Fulham will reflect on Duff`s superb positioning to clear a goal bound effort of the line, they`ll also be thankful that not one of the five officials on duty managed to see a clear handball by Kelly just inside the box.
I probably wasn`t the only person to be relieved to hear that final whistle and now, as they say, all roads lead to Basle of all places as we seek to secure qualification from this group.