Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday April 23 2010
And so the dream refuses to die!
After ninety minutes of deadlock, in the Europe League semi-final, Fulham have every chance of reaching the final with the second leg to come at Craven Cottage.
On a night when the legions defied the travel chaos to reach Hamburg, the only negative point was the sight of Bobby Zamora limping off in the early stages of the second half.
Fulham might not have offered much in the way of attacking football but their defensive capabilities were once again highlighted with Hangeland, Hughes and Schwarzer all looking particularly impressive.
For the fixture, Roy Hodgson made one change to the starting eleven with Hangeland returning from maternity leave to take the place of Smalling.
In an arena packed with 49,000 spectators it was Hamburg that got off to a bright start. In the first minute Van Nistelrooy was through but his touch was, fortunately, poor and Schwarzer was able to mop up.
The early Hamburg pressure continued and Trochowski looked frustrated at a long range effort that flew wide. Some fifteen minutes into the game, Fulham strung together their best attack so far but Gera saw his effort deflected narrowly wide after a build up involving Zamora and Konchesky.
It was a lone foray as Hamburg started to camp in the Fulham. Hangeland stood firm and the only real danger to come before half time was a tame appeal for a penalty, that was waved away, when Pitroipa went down, how you might say, rather too easily.
The second half started with Zamora limping and it wasn`t long before he had to submit to his niggling injury to be replaced by Dempsey. Once again, as Hamburg pushed forward, Hangleand was in imperious form thwarting attack after attack.
Slowly but surely, after weathering the onslaught, Fulham carved out an opportunity or two. The first saw Gera make a run down the left but his corss was cut out, at the last minute, before Dempsey could reach it. The second saw Gera go down under a challenge from Boateng, in the area, but like the Hamburg appeal I the first half, it was never going to be given.
Hamburg, pushing forward for a winner, saw Schwarzer produce good saves to deny Pitroipa and then Trochwski as Hamburg resorted to bringing on Petric in a last throw of the dice.
Petric had one chance but once again Schwarzer delivered the goods, pushing the effort around the post and Fulham had their 0-0 draw.
Next Thursday, same time but different venue!
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Date:Friday April 23 2010
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