Saturday 28 December 2002, 3:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Manchester City
Manchester City
Anelka 84'

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Sylvain Legwinski
Off:Martin Djetou

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Elvis Hammond
Off:Steed Malbranque

84' Goal

Nicolas Anelka

50' Yellow Card

Niclas Jensen Card was given for a foul

36' Substitution

Player was substituted due to an injury
On:Sun Jihai
Off:Eyal Berkovic

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Shaun Wright-Phillips
Off:Darren Huckerby

87' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Gerard Wiekens
Off:Ali Benarbia

In a thrilling match at Loftus Road it was the visitors who claimed all three points, a late Nicolas Anelka goal the difference between Fulham and Manchester City.

Fulham and City had spurned chance after chance - including Anelka from two yards - before the Frenchman collected Shaun Wright-Phillips' pass in his stride and blasted past Maik Taylor in the 83rd minute.  

Taylor and Peter Schmeichel had both been in imperious form - and when they were beaten, their defenders raced back to clear off the line.  

Schmeichel denied Fulham an early lead in a stop-start first half with an excellent one-on-one save from Steve Marlet.  

It needed a much more dramatic intervention to prevent the Frenchman scoring after 38 minutes.  

Marlet beat the big Dane but right-back Richard Dunne raced back to clear off his own goalline.  

Fulham had their own defensive hero as well, with Martin Djetou heading clear after Ali Benarbia's shot was parried by Taylor - who also denied Anelka from close range.  

The second period was thrilling stuff, with Ali Benarbia clearing off his line and Anelka making his astonishing miss before hitting the winner for ex-Fulham boss Kevin Keegan.  

England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson was in the directors' box Loftus Road to assess the home talent on show.  He saw Benarbia and Darren Huckerby start for the first time in two and three months respectively.  

Wright-Phillips and Shaun Goater were both dropped from the team that beat Aston Villa 3-1 on Boxing Day.  Taylor was in goal for Fulham again in place of Edwin van der Sar, sidelined with a broken metatarsal bone in his right foot.  

Steed Malbranque's run-and-shot was the first moment of excitement, although his effort drifted wide of Schmeichel's goal.  

Anelka hit back for the visitors and sent a deflected drive skidding just past the post.  After eight minutes, Huckerby let fly with a thumping volley after Fulham half-cleared a corner - but Steve Finnan charged his shot down.  

Eyal Berkovic forced Taylor into action for the first time with a 20-yard attempt.   The Fulham keeper dived to his left and saved well.  

But the game exploded in the 19th minute when Sean Davis came within a whisker of scoring a quite brilliant goal.   

He linked up with Malbranque and sent a scorching left-foot volley just wide from 20 yards.  Marlet had a much clearer-cut scoring opportunity 30 seconds later, racing onto Sava's through-ball but shooting straight at Schmeichel.   

Malbranque, Fulham's liveliest player, had his follow-up strike blocked.  Huckerby outwitted Zat Knight and poked the ball to Anelka, whose shot was met by the onrushing Taylor.  

The game had moved up several gears now - and it took dramatic goalline clearances at either end to keep the scoreline blank.  

Seven minutes before the break, Malbranque squared for Marlet, 10 yards out.   

Schmeichel got a piece of his shot, but the ball was spinning goalwards until Dunne raced back to clear.  

And at the other end, Taylor parried Benarbia's powerful free-kick and recovered to palm the ball up in the air.   Djetou climbed tallest to head over for a corner.  

Two minutes after the interval, a woeful piece of control by Djetou almost led to the opener for City.   Huckerby seized possession and raced goalwards to send as hot whistling into the side-netting.  

And the striker should have done much better minutes later when he raced onto Benarbia's header and got round Taylor thanks to a lucky deflection.   

But his ball back into the danger zone was sliced horrendously.  

Schmeichel also saved from Marlet as both sides pushed for the breakthrough.  

Schmeichel's bravery denied Fulham twice in three minutes at the hour mark.  

First, he threw himself at Marlet's close-range shot to block - and then he seized the ball on his goalline as Sava and Djetou slid in.  

And as Keegan's men hit back, a trademark Huckerby run ended with a shot which flew wide.  It was end-to-end stuff at the moment - with Benarbia clearing Marlet's header off his line and Fulham substitute Sylvain Legwinski firing wide.  

Anelka was guilty of his glaring miss in the 71st minute.   

Kevin Horlock's cross bounced to the far post and the Frenchman, just two yards out, somehow headed wide.  

But Anelka made no mistake in the 83rd minute, taking Wright-Phillips' pass in his stride and unleashing a bullet strike into the far corner of Fulham's net.  

Sava scooped his late shot into Schmeichel's arms as City held on to win 1-0.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 28 December 2002
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 17,937

Referee: Phil Durkin


Line-up: Taylor; Finnan, Knight, Goma, Brevett; Malbranque (Hammond 77'), Djetou (Legwinski 64'), Davis, Goldbaek; Sava, Marlet

Unused substitutes: Herrera, Melville, Wome

Manchester City

Line-up: Schmeichel; Dunne, Howey, Distin, Jensen; Berkovic (Jihai 36'), Foe, Benarbia (Wiekens 87'), Horlock, Huckerby (Wright-Phillips 69'); Anelka

Unused substitutes: Nash, Goater

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 20 42
2 Chelsea 21 38
3 Manchester United 21 38
4 Everton 21 35
5 Liverpool 20 33
6 Newcastle United 19 32
7 Southampton 21 32
8 Tottenham Hotspur 20 32
9 Manchester City 21 30
10 Middlesbrough 21 29
11 Blackburn Rovers 21 29
12 Charlton Athletic 21 29
13 Leeds United 21 27
14 Aston Villa 21 25
15 Birmingham City 21 25
16 Fulham 21 23
17 Bolton Wanderers 20 19
18 Sunderland 21 18
19 West Bromwich Albion 21 16
20 West Ham United 21 16
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 9Facundo Sava
  • 7Steve Marlet
  • Martin Herrera
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 27Pierre Wome
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 34Elvis Hammond
Manchester City (4-5-1)
  • 1Peter Schmeichel
  • 22Richard Dunne
  • 24Steve Howey
  • 5Sylvain Distin
  • 3Niclas Jensen
  • 14Eyal Berkovic
  • 23Marc Vivien Foe
  • 8Ali Benarbia
  • 6Kevin Horlock
  • 7Darren Huckerby
  • 39Nicolas Anelka
  • 20Carlo Nash
  • 17Sun Jihai
  • 4Gerard Wiekens
  • 29Shaun Wright-Phillips
  • 10Shaun Goater