Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fulham lose 3 - 1 at Juventus

I stated going into the match that I hoped for an away goal in this Europa League matchup at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin. I guess I was hoping the score was a little closer. Fulham lost to Juventus 3 - 1. The funny thing the score doesn't indicate the effort and play Fulham gave in the second half. Overall, Juventus were the better team in this match. Fulham still have a chance next week at Craven Cottage. It is going to be hard, but this team has surprised me many times this season. I wouldn't count Fulham out just yet.

The first 30 minutes were dominated by Juventus. In this time they scored 2 goals. First, In the 8th minute a Diego corner kick was headed in by Nicola Legrottaglie that got by Mark Schwarzer. In the 25th minute, off of a great run came a tremendous right footed shot by Jonathan Zebina, that just got in the corner of the net. After the first 30 minutes Fulham were down 2- 0.

Shortly afterwards Fulham started to show some life and started to control the ball more. In the 36th minute, a direct free kick was taken by Simon Davies. The ball fell to Dickson Etuhu who richocheted a shot off of a Juventus defender that went past Manninger. The game was now 2 - 1 and Fulham had an important away goal.

Fulham almost tied the match in the 40th minute. Simon Davies had a corner kick that was headed by Brede Hangeland in the box and saved by Manninger again. This was Fulham's best chance to tie the match.

It looked like the match would end at the half 2-1 with Juventus ahead. The game went into stoppage time and Juventus were pushing forward. After a corner kick, a shot by David Trezeguet hit the the post but bounced right back to him. His second shot got by Mark Schwarzer and Juventus were ahead 3 - 1 to the end the first half.

The second half I thought Fulham controlled a good amount of the play and pushed forward. Unfortunately, many times in the second half Bobby Zamora was offsides. There was though a good cross by Zamora that went to Zoltan Gera. He headed the ball out of bounds.

I have to say the best news of the second half was the return of Clint Dempsey in the 60th minute. He came in and replaced Simon Davies. The last best chance of the night came from Juventus. in the 89th minute a shot by Diego was tipped over the net by Mark Schwarzer. The game ended 3 - 1 with Juventus winning the match.

Even though Fulham were outplayed tonight I thought they gave great effort. I think they showed especially in the second half that the club deserved to be in this matchup. It will be tough in the second leg. Regardless of the outcome it has been an great time watching Fulham play in the Europa League. I never would have imagined this happening 2 years ago.

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