Twente 1-0 FulhamBy: Sam | December 1st, 2011
Stalemate of 89 minutes at 0-0. Then, in two minutes a team scores and a player is sent off. One team must now carry a burden for their next game.
That team is Fulham as Twente won 1-0 at home. Late substitute Marc Janko got the goal for the Dutch side when Twente crossed from outside the Fulham box – an area they were threatening from all night.
A draw would have suited Fulham, but a defeat means the final game is a must win to qualify from the group stage of the Europa League. Added to that will be the absence of Johnson, who booted the ball after a foul. He got a second yellow card for it – his first yellow coming for a foul in the Fulham half, where he did drop deep to provide good defending – and will miss the final group game against Odense. A big miss as he is Fulham’s highest-scoring player in Europe.
The first half was a cagey affair with neither team having great amounts of chances or control of possession. Twente, however, had better movement and took advantage on the wings. They won two dangerous free-kicks on the left side just outside the Fulham box. However, the Fulham defence and Mark Schwarzer took care of the set-pieces and other attacks comfortably.
Fulham had their attacking moments in the first half, too. Danny Murphy provided from the centre of midfield for Bobby Zamora but the pass was too strong and high and went harmlessly out for a goal kick – Zamora informed to Murphy that he needed to keep the ball on the ground. To which Murphy duly did when he passed from a similar position in midfield to Andrew Johnson who was almost through on goal but the Twente goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov.
The second half had a higher tempo. Ola John was subbed on for Twente and produced dangerous crosses from the left wing near the Fulham box. A cross to Luuk de Jong was destined to go in but his header went wide. Emir Bajrami also hit a shot that was equally destined to go in – a bit like Darren Ambrose’s goal last night against Manchester United – however, it went wide and Fulham, although hard-working and resolute, had their backs against the wall.
Then, a brilliant chance for Fulham came, when, a free-kick was won by Johnson outside the Twente box on the right. Murphy cut the ball across the box to Zamora who struck it with the outside of his left-foot and went just wide of the goal. It was Fulham’s best chance of the night.
But, as the match seemed to be ending as a well-fought draw, Twente scored. A cross from the right of the Fulham box met an unmarked Janko who tapped it in and sealed emphatically Twente’s progression into the next round of the Europa League. Fulham meanwhile must beat Odense at home. The odds should be on a Fulham victory, but without the Europa League high-scoring Johnson, it could prove to be a bit cumbersome.