Assist by Bobby Zamora
Assist by Erik Nevland
Clint Dempsey Card was given for a foul
Player was substituted due to an injury
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Fulham will take a two-goal advantage to Russia for the second leg of the UEFA Europa League Play-Off match after goals from Andrew Johnson, Clint Dempsey and Bobby Zamora made sure of the win. The only blot on the Fulham copybook came when Johnson was injured in the second-half, following a clash with Dmitry Belorukov.
The Whites didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal of the match. Andrew Johnson clipped a tidy finish over the advancing Sergey Narubin on three minutes following an excellent low delivery from Bobby Zamora which was angled perfectly in behind the visiting defensive line.
It was a big blow for Amkar who, up to that point, had been looking lively in attack, with the pace of left winger Mitar Novakovic impressing early on. Indeed, the visiting side were also looking to prevent the Whites from played the ball out from the back and the clever positioning of Drincic was causing Fulham some difficulties.
Any early notions of this encounter being a walk in the park for the Whites were soon dispelled as Amkar showed themselves to be more than adept at keeping possession and working their way through the Fulham side.
A lively run from Amkar’s Brazilian forward, Jean Carlos, on 22 minutes caused heightened tensions in the Fulham back line until Brede Hangeland cleared the danger on the edge of his box.
Clint Dempsey saw a good opportunity come his way on the half hour mark when he and Bobby Zamora played a tidy interchange of passes outside the Amkar penalty area – unfortunately the American international was unable to make any meaningful contact for the shot.
Zamora linked up well with Johnson again on 33 minutes after Dempsey did well to win possession in his own half. Zamora, upon received the ball from Dempsey, made good ground down the left flank before cutting an intelligent ball into the path of Johnson. The Fulham striker managed to get his foot to the ball but Narubin did well to parry the effort away.
With the first-half drawing to a close Amkar seemed to lose a touch of invention to their play – with Fulham doing a fine job of limited the visiting side’s passing opportunities.
Only an excellent piece of defending from Zakhary Sirakov prevented Fulham from doubling their lead. The Amkar right-back was the last line of defence after Zamora had again played Johnson in. Johnson’s shot came out to Dempsey whose volleyed attempt bounced up off the turf only to be headed over by the Russian defender.
The Amkar defence was almost caught cold at the start of the season-half when the lively Johnson turned well inside the box and fired a left-footed shot just wide of the near post.
Mark Schwarzer was tested for the first time on 47 minutes when Martin Kushev found space in the box and was able to get a snap shot away.
A spectacular 30-yard drive from Clint Dempsey on 51 minutes made it two-nil to Fulham. There was little that Sergey Narubin could do to keep the shot out as the ball whistled past the keeper’s palm, grazing the post before hitting the back of the net.
If anything the goal made Amkar double their efforts in attack - knowing that an away goal would greatly aid their cause. Fulham’s defence was put under intense pressure with the away side playing a number of difficult to defend balls into the Fulham area.
Andrew Johnson’s participation in the game came to an end when he was cynically brought down by Dmitry Belorukov. Johnson picked up possession following a loose pass in midfield and sprinted towards goal, with Belorukov having only a standing start, the Amkar defender stepped across his man, bringing Johnson tumbling to the ground. Referee Garcia wasted little time in reaching for the yellow card. Nevland came on for Johnson.
Damien Duff, on for Gera, made his Fulham debut on 75 minutes and had been on the field for all of 20 seconds before he played a major part in Fulham’s third of the evening. The winger produced a great run down the left flank before turning the ball to Nevland, he laid a pass into the path of Zamora who smashed his shot past Narubin.
Amkar gave themselves a lifeline moments later when the Fulham defence failed to clear the danger and substitute Vitaliy Grishin fired past Schwarzer from a narrow angle on 77 minutes. Chris Baird came on for Dickson Etuhu immediately following the goal as Fulham made their third and final change of the evening.
Despite some late pressure, neither side was able to further add to the score sheet.
Competition: Europa League Qualifying
Date: Thursday 20 August 2009
Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Referee: Oliveira Alves Garcia
Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Gera (Duff 74'), Murphy, Etuhu (Baird 77'), Dempsey; Zamora, Johnson (Nevland 66')
Unused substitutes: Stockdale, Kelly, Bjorn Helge Riise, Johnson
Manager: Martin Jol
Team line-up is not available.