Wednesday 12 May 2010, 7:45pm at HSH Nordbank Arena, Hamburg
UEFA Europa League
Atletico Madrid
Atlético Madrid
Forlán 32', 116'
Fulham FC
Davies 37'

32' Goal

Diego Forlán
Assist by Sergio Agüero

116' Goal

Diego Forlán
Assist by Sergio Agüero

114' Yellow Card

Raúl García Card was given for a foul

118' Yellow Card

Diego Forlán Card was given for a foul

67' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:José Jurado

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Eduardo Salvio
Off:José Antonio Reyes

117' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Juan Valera
Off:Sergio Agüero

37' Goal

Simon Davies
Assist by Zoltán Gera

63' Yellow Card

Brede Hangeland Card was given for a foul

54' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Clint Dempsey
Off:Bobby Zamora

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Erik Nevland
Off:Damien Duff

117' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jonathan Greening
Off:Danny Murphy

Fulham's unforgettable European adventure came to a heart-breaking end on Wednesday night, with Diego Forlan's goal in extra-time handing Atletico Madrid a shattering victory.

Fulham returned to the HSH Nordbank Area for their first major final since the 1975 FA Cup Final, where, from the moment they arrived in their numbers the Fulham faithful were at their vociferous best.

This was a night that those loyal followers had dreamed long and hard, and another that would unfold against the backdrop of uproarious drama.

The Whites had played 18 matches to reach this stage of the UEFA Europa League, this was their 19th and 63rd of a long, eventful campaign – one that kicked-off in July against Lithuanian hopefuls FK Vetra.

Roy Hodgson had been deservedly named manager of the year going into the game, and rightly so. At our helm is England’s most astute manager; keeping his side up on the final day of the 2007-08 season was remarkable, guiding them to a European cup final - staggering.

Fulham, boosted by the inclusion of Bobby Zamora, who had not played since the 2-1 semi-final, second-leg win over Hamburg, started in vibrant fashion, keeping the ball and forcing Atletico into a number of early errors.

That said, Mark Schwarzer did have to make one brave punch under the advancement of Diego Forlan, with Danny Murphy showing his commitment to the cause and charging down Raul Garcia’s subsequent follow up.

Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores had deployed an air of apparent caution during his pre-match press conference and claimed that his side needed to be ‘courageous’.

The side from La Liga were spearheaded by former Manchester United striker Forlan and talented Argentine Sergio Aguero. And with Jose Antonio Reyes and Simao on the flanks, it was clear the Spaniards had attacking potency in abundance.

Evidently clear, when Forlan broke on the left of the Fulham box and rattled the foot of the far post with a low strike across the goal. A surging run from Tomas Ujfalusi then drew a foul from Dickson Etuhu, with Reyes’ curled free-kick expertly handled by Mark Schwarzer.

Zoltan Gera, a player that has enjoyed an impressive European adventure of his own, fired over at the other end as Fulham battled intently to wrestle back their initial momentum, while Simon Davies arrowed a stinging drive into the hands of David de Gea.

With 25 minutes gone, Atletico were certainly enjoying the run of the pitch, with Aguero twice tricking his way past Chris Baird and Aaron Hughes. Fortunately for the Whites, twice Brede Hangeland was on hand to clear to safety.

But there was little the Norwegian could do six minutes later, when Forlan slipped in to turn home Aguero’s scuffed shot. A cruel blow, but the Whites had been here before.

And that undoubted spirit and self-belief would be needed more than ever, with thoughts of Juventus and Hamburg surfacing to the fore.

And so it did. Bobby Zamora slipped past two challenges to find Damien Duff, whose pass to the right gave Gera time to deliver. The Hungarian lofted the ball to the back post, where Davies was waiting crash in with a sumptuous finish on 36 minutes.

Atletico replied with confident swagger; four quick corners and a testing strike from Forlan penning Fulham back. But the Whites held firm, with Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli’s half-time whistle bringing respite.

The second period opened positively, with Fulham enjoying their best passage of play as Murphy, Gera and Duff drove the Whites forward. The most promising of which saw a fabulous pass from our captain free Gera, who was unlucky to be denied by de Gea’s brave smother.

With his Achilles injury clearly playing up, Zamora was replaced with Clint Dempsey on 54 minutes, with the American making a lively introduction.

As the Fulham fans sang ‘stand up, if you still believe’, Davies drew a fantastic low save from de Gea, while at the other end Hughes did well to dispel Forlan’s teasing pull-back from the left.

A slalom run inside from the right saw Duff strike wide, with the Irishman almost picking out a diving Gera at the back post as Fulham looked to threaten further.

Aguero forced Schwarzer into action from another set-piece with 15 minutes remaining, while Ujfalusi blazed over from the edge of the box.

Into the final five, an understandable urgency took over, with only a Murphy free-kick and a break from substitute Erik Nevland suggesting that an additional half an hour would not be needed. But it was.

In a tentative first period, Schwarzer did well to block Forlan’s hopeful effort from an angle, with Etuhu doing even better to shoe the ball into touch, all while both Aguero and Eduardo Salvio were ready to pounce.

Paul Konchesky also did well, blocking Aguero’s certain strike at goal, while from a goal mouth scramble moments later, the Argentine international stabbed the ball wide with the goal in sight.

The second period kicked-off to a resounding chorus of Fulham hope, with the faithful again, urging their side into ascendency.

A floated free-kick from Murphy almost found the head of Etuhu, while another probing delivery sought Dempsey.

Davies then crossed from the right, from which, on the turn Nevland flashed high and wide, with Fulham the side showing the greater ambition and craving for a second.

Then from nowhere, and against the run of play, Aguero centred another teasing delivery where Forlan guided the ball home with gut-wrenching conviction.

With that Fulham’s great European adventure came to end. Heads and hearts had been sunk, but Roy Hodgson and his valiant players bowed out with unquestionable admiration - transformed from relegation fodder to European cup finalists in little more than two emotional and exciting years.

Despite the result, this was still one of football’s great fairytales. From front to back, Hodgson’s Heroes have done us proud, with their courage, desire and unrelenting commitment emboldening this great Club.

This season, Fulham secured Barclays Premier League football for the 10th successive year, reached the quarter-final of the FA Cup and the final of the UEFA Europa League. The drama of the latter has been inexorable.

A nervous victory in Amkar Perm secured our passage in to the group stage, while a brave win in Basel booked our place in the last 32. The subsequent defeat of the impressive Shakhtar Donetsk trailed, while the comeback against Juventus still sends shivers down the spine. A fine quarter-final dismissal of German champions Wolfsburg ensued, with another memorable comeback seeing off Hamburg in the semi-final.

It was an adventure filled with glory and elation, but one that ultimately ended in frustration. Fulham surprised many by qualifying for the UEFA Europa League, few would be so shocked to see them back on European shores in seasons to come.

Stand up, if you still believe.

Match Information

Competition: UEFA Europa League

Date: Wednesday 12 May 2010
Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: HSH Nordbank Arena, Hamburg
Attendance: 49,000

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli

Atlético Madrid

Line-up: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Domínguez, Perea, López; Reyes (Salvio 77'), Paulo Assunção, Raúl García, Simão (Jurado 67'); Forlán, Agüero (Valera 117')

Unused substitutes: Robles, Juanito, Cabrera, Camacho


Line-up: Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Duff (Nevland 83'), Murphy (Greening 117'), Etuhu, Davies; Gera; Zamora (Dempsey 54')

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Pantsil, Bjorn Helge Riise, Dikgacoi

Atlético Madrid (4-4-2)
  • 13David De Gea
  • 17Tomas Ujfalusi
  • 18Álvaro Domínguez
  • 21Luis Perea
  • 3Antonio López
  • 10José Antonio Reyes
  • 12Paulo Assunção
  • 8Raúl García
  • 20Simão
  • 7Diego Forlán
  • 10Sergio Agüero
  • 25Joel Robles
  • 2Juan Valera
  • 16Juanito
  • 24Cabrera
  • 6Ignacio Camacho
  • 9José Jurado
  • 8Eduardo Salvio
Fulham (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 6Chris Baird
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 29Simon Davies
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 25Bobby Zamora
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 17Bjorn Helge Riise
  • 27Jonathan Greening
  • 34Kagisho Dikgacoi
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 23Clint Dempsey