Martin Jol handed young goalkeeper Neil Etheridge his First Team debut for the visit of Odense BK as the Whites used the full depth of their squad for Wednesday’s match.
Marcel Gecov and Chris Baird made up the centre midfield for Fulham and both demonstrated fine positional understanding. It was Chris Baird who registered the first shot on target of the match, when he latched on to a loose pass 25 yards out and tested Stefan Wessels with a powerful strike.
Baird almost turned provider on 10 minutes when a wonderfully weighted pass found Zamora beyond the Odense back line, unfortunately Zamora was closed down just before he was able to unleash a shot on target.
The chances continued to come for the Whites and on 13 minutes a superbly delivered corner from Kerim Frei saw Wessels save superbly from Brede Hangeland’s towering header – allowing for a fellow team-mate to clear off the line.
Clint Dempsey was presented with the next chance for the Whites as he ran through on goal, rounded Wessels only to see his goal bound effort cleared by a covering defender. But Dempsey made sure on 27 minutes when he empathically rounded off a penetrating move involving Kerim Frei and Bobby Zamora. Frei, who outpaced his man to the by-line, played a teasing low delivery into the area which Zamora touched into the path of Dempsey. The finish gave Wessels no chance.
Kerim Frei doubled Fulham’s advantage as he registered his first ever goal for the First Team. Mousa Dembele’s clever run and through ball was latched onto by Frei who maintained his composure to side foot the ball through Wessels’ legs and into the back of the net.
Fulham started the second-half intent on building on their advantage and with two shots on target in as many minutes, Mousa Dembele looked eager to get on the score sheet.
A tenacious run from Espen Ruud allowed the Odense right-back an opportunity to fire a shot on goal, which Etheridge did well to push wide. It was one of the few attacking opportunities of the half for Odense, who were forced to go for long periods out of possession.
Very much against the run of play Odense pulled a goal back on 64 minutes when Hans Henrik Andreasenplaced a smart free-kick low around the wall to beat Neil Etheridge at the near post.
Martin Jol made his first substitution of the match on 71 minutes when goal scorer Clint Dempsey was replaced by Damien Duff.
Fulham continued to control possession but with Wisla Krakow doing their level best to qualify by leading FC Twente in Group K's other fixture, the Whites needed to re-establish their two-goal cushion to ensure passage to the Round of 32.
But the visitors snatched the crucial goal with virtually the final touch of the game when Djilby Fall headed home from six yards - dramatically and suddenly sending Fulham out of the Europa League.