Europa League – Sensational Fulham thrash Juventus

Fulham came from behind to register a famous 4-1 win over European giants Juventus at Craven Cottage to book a place in the Europa League quarter-finals 5-4 on aggregate.

David Trezeguet‘s early strike looked like making it a miserable evening for Fulham, but Bobby Zamora equalised on nine minutes to give the hosts hope.

Zoltan Gera then struck twice before Clint Dempsey grabbed the decisive goal as the Cottagers wiped out a 3-1 first leg deficit to advance into the last eight.

Fulham were helped in the cause by the dismissal of Fabio Cannavaro in the first half and Juve ended the game with nine men after Jonathan Zebina was also sent off as time ran out.

All the pre-match talk focussed on Fulham not conceding an early goal, but they were faced with the worst-case scenario after two minutes.

Trezeguet took full advantage when Fulham failed to clear and the Frenchman stroked the ball past Mark Schwarzer.

The Cottagers refused to fold and were level within four minutes.

Zamora did superbly to chest the ball down after brushing off Cannavaro and he fired past third-choice Juve keeper Antonio Chimenti.

Diego came close to restoring their advantage with a powerful shot that Schwarzer could only parry, but the Italians were in disarray when Cannavaro brought down Gera.

Despite Juve protests, the referee decided he was the last man and the Italians were down to 10 men with 28 minutes on the clock.

Zamora almost gave the hosts the lead with a free kick that Chimenti tipped past the post before Simon Davies hit the bar with another.

When Dickson Etuhu‘s header hit the post from a matter of yards, it looked like the.half would end all-square, but Fulham were not to be denied and in the best move of the match, Zamora flicked on to Davies and his ball into the box was finished from close range by Gera to send Fulham 2-1 in at the break.

And the Cottagers were in dreamland minutes after the restart. Damien’s Duff drive into the box hit Diego on the arm and the ref signalled to the penalty spot.

Without normal penalty taker Danny Murphy on the pitch, Gera took responsibility to send Chimenti the wrong way and smash the ball home to level the tie on aggregate.

Gera could have won a second penalty when he was sandwiched in the box only for the referee to wave play on and Trezeguet and Diego reminded Fulham that the tie was far from won as they tried shots from distance.

Davies tested Chimenti with a fierce drive as the Cottagers looked for the all-important fourth, before the Juve keeper again kept the Italians in the game when he saved substitute Dempsey’s header.

Chimenti was again called into action to deal with Gera’s drive, but with extra time fast approaching, Dempsey found space to deliver a sublime chip over the helpless goalkeeper into the far corner and send Fulham through on a sensational night at the Cottage.

Ian Hare / Eurosport

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