Roma in the EuropaBy: timmyg | October 22nd, 2009
Fans may be weeping and gnashing their teeth over today’s result, but Fulham were 92 minutes and 5 seconds away from taking all three points and nearly punching their ticket into the next round. All without our captain, our “best” wingers (Dempsey, Davies, and Duff to a point), our prized striker, and a deputizing center mid.
What was truly a tale of two halves saw the likes of Bobby Zamora and Bjorn Helge Riise dictate play and Brede Hangeland rise above and score a crucial header in the first 45 minutes. On the flip side, Okaka Chuka was completely absent as were Roma’s entire midfield.
In the second 45 minutes, Fulham were all too willing to give away possession to a team that either remembered they were supposed to be playing a game or had a livid half time talk. And adding the likes of Claudio Pizzaro and Mirko Vucinic helped too.
It was really only a matter of time before they tied it up or won it. We can look at the ridiculous penalty by and ejection of Steven Kelly — who is all but gone for the rest of the Group Stage — and thank Mark Schwarzer for saving our skins, but Roma deserved at least a point. Thankfully, they did not take all three.
Yet Fulham also deserved a point in this uneven but still crackling affair. According to Bill Simmons’ “13 Levels of Losing” I’d say this was a Level XII. Tough, but fair.
We can take away several positives from this match. First, Zamora clearly has the monkey off his back. Bjorn Riise should be challenging Gera on the depth chart (or maybe he was especially just up for it considering he played against his brother?) Greening can boot it from distance. We’re probably going to be seeing a lot of Chris Smalling on defense now that Kelly is suspended. And according to the comments in Chris’ The Offside–Roma blog, we have some new fans!
View, if you can stomach it: