Thursday 6 August 2009, 8:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
UEFA Europa League
Fulham FC
Fulham
3
Etuhu 57'; Johnson 80', 84'
FK Vetra
FK Vetra
0
Fulham win 3-0 against FK Vetra.

57' Goal

Dickson Etuhu
Assist by Paul Konchesky

80' Goal

Andrew Johnson
Assist by Clint Dempsey

84' Goal

Andrew Johnson
Assist by Eddie Johnson

90'+2 Yellow Card

Stephen Kelly Card was given for a foul

78' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Stephen Kelly
Off:John Pantsil

79' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Bjorn Helge Riise
Off:Zoltán Gera

82' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Eddie Johnson
Off:Bobby Zamora

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

The only absentee from last season's record breaking team for Thursday's European clash was Dickson Etuhu. The midfielder remained back in London for the birth of his child. Etuhu was replaced by Chris Baird in central midfield alongside captain, Danny Murphy.

By the time Thursday night's game got underway it was still a bright, hot night in Lithuania's capital city of Vilnius. The 5,900 capacity crowd created a superb atmosphere inside the stadium before kick-off.

There was certainly a lively start on the pitch as the home side almost took the lead after just five minutes of play.

Aaron Hughes was forced to concede a corner down Fulham's left flank and from the resulting set-piece left back Paulaskas leapt at the far post to head the ball goalwards. The home crowd went wild but fortunately Mark Schwarzer was alert to parry the effort off the line and a penalty area scramble ensued before the ball was cleared to safety.

It was a fortunate let-off for Fulham but just seconds later, on the counter attack, Andrew Johnson rounded Vetra keeper Valincius on the by-line. Johnson's centre was cleared to safety before Fulham's midfield could latch onto the opportunity.

It was certainly a testing physical encounter against FK Vetra and the home side were in buoyant mood, passing the ball around with confidence during the opening exchanges. The home crowd wildly applauded any Vetra forward momentum as Fulham tried to bring some calm to proceedings. Brede Hangeland almost silenced the home support after nine minutes, heading just wide from 10 yards following Paul Konchesky's lung-bursting run down the left flank.

After 15 minutes of play Zoltan Gera tried his luck from 30 yards with a powerful right-footed drive. The Hungarian's effort was heading towards the roof of the net and had caught Valincius cold but the keeper just managed to recover his position and parry the ball away.

Bobby Zamora was handed a fine opportunity on goal after 24 minutes following a superb pass from Danny Murphy which cut the opposition's defence to shreds. Murphy collected the ball 30 yards from goal and with the outside of his boot delivered an inch perfect pass into Zamora's path on the left hand side of the area. Zamora connected but Valincius was well positioned to collect with ease.

The home support were less than happy when Ngapounou was booked for sarcastically applauding the referee following a decision against Vetra in the centre of the pitch.

As the game approached the half hour mark Fulham gradually took control of proceedings as the home side's enthusiastic early charge receded. Andy Johnson was in lively mood, twisting and turning his markers in the final third with ease. However the end result was proving hard to come by in the first half.

Johnson almost put a finishing touch on Zoltan Gera cross from the right after 34 minutes as the ball zipped along the six yard line past a host of players. Two minutes later Clint Dempsey burst through midfield and fired a right footed shot just wide of Valincius right hand post. Fulham were getting closer by the minute.

FK Vetra were certainly not short of energy and bite during the first half. The home side constantly nipped at the heels when Fulham were in possession and pressed hard to allow the Whites no time on the ball.

Four minutes before half-time Andy Johnson cut the ball back from the right by-line to Zoltan Gera in a central position. Gera stabbed his effort goalwards but yet again the ball went outside of the post.  

Bobby Zamora made no mistake two minutes before the break, slotting the ball home from sixteen yards with a left-footed shot into the far corner of the net. The chance came from another incisive Danny Murphy pass. Murphy's  through ball was weighted perfectly and Zamora put the Whites ahead at the end of a bruising first half.

Fulham got the second half underway and the Whites line-up remained the same. The home side made one change, replacing Ngapounou with Stanaitis in central midfield.

After a quiet start to the second period Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson combined superbly in the final third to create an opening. The ball was played into Zamora’s feet 30 yards from goal and the striker ghosted the pass to set Johnson free in the area. Johnson was unfortunately denied by a superb last-ditch tackle in the box.

Barely a minute later Fulham doubled their lead from the penalty spot. A cross from the left found Zamora in the area and the striker was wrestled to the floor by Jankauskas 10 yards from goal. The Referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Danny Murphy stepped up to fire the ball into the left hand corner of the net.

FK Vetra made an immediate substitution after Fulham had taken a two-nil lead. Striker Vasiliauskas was replaced by Moroz. Grigaitis led the FK Vetra line whilst Moroz took up an attacking central midfield position.

Roy Hodgson made his first substitution of the game after 68 minutes, replacing Andrew Johnson with Erik Nevland.

Following Nevland's introduction Fulham enjoyed a sustained period of attacking football. Camped inside FK Vetra's half the Whites zipped the ball around as the home side appeared to wilt as the game wore on.

The contest was held up on 73 minutes when Grigaitis had to be stretchered from the pitch after suffering cramp. The striker could not continue and Eliosius was introduced to the fray.

During the later stages of the game Roy Hodgson introduced Bjorn Helge Riise and Seol Ki-Hyeon for Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey respectively. Seol made an immediate impact, scoring with a superb strike from the edge of the area after 85 minutes to put Fulham three-nil up.

Erik Nevland and Bobby Zamora went close in the final minutes with shots from inside the area as Fulham took complete control.

After a testing first 45 minutes Fulham completed the first half of their Third Round Qualifier in convincing fashion and will return to the Cottage next Thursday with a three goal advantage.

Match Information

Competition: Europa League Qualifying

Date: Thursday 6 August 2009
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 15,016

Referee: Istvan Vad

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil (Kelly 78'), Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Gera (Bjorn Helge Riise 79'), Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey; Zamora (Johnson 82'), Johnson

Unused substitutes: Stockdale, Baird, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Nevland

Manager: Martin Jol

FK Vetra

Team line-up is not available.

Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 23Clint Dempsey
  • 25Bobby Zamora
  • 8Andrew Johnson
Substitutes
  • 12David Stockdale
  • 2Stephen Kelly
  • 6Chris Baird
  • 7Seol Ki-Hyeon
  • 17Bjorn Helge Riise
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 21Eddie Johnson
Manager
  • Martin Jol
FK Vetra (TBA)
    Substitutes