Martin Jol handed Zdenek Grygera his Fulham debut, with the defender lining up in the right-back position – the central defensive positions were occupied by Brede Hangeland and Chris Baird, Matthew Briggs completed the back line.
Fulham started the game content to allow Twente the early advantage in terms of possession but whilst the visitors struggled to break through Fulham’s two banks of four the Whites looked far more incisive. Twice early on Andrew Johnson stretched Twente’s defence with his customary runs down the wing.
The Whites clicked into gear after sizing up their opponents and Mousa Dembele combined with Clint Dempsey on 13 minutes as Fulham forced Nikolay Mihaylov into his first stop of the match, with the Bulgarian ‘keeper making a sharp reaction save down to his right.
An expert piece of anticipation from Andrew Johnson on 19 minutes gave Fulham the lead. Dwight Tiendalli, the Twente left-back, played a risky pass across the pitch to his central defensive counterpart, only to see that Johnson was one move ahead. The Fulham striker intercepted the pass before beating Peter Wisgerhof and deftly flicking the ball past Mihaylov with the outside of his right boot.
Throughout the first-half Martin Jol’s men did a fine job of combining the discipline required to maintain a rigid defensive formation with a gung-ho attitude when looking to attack.
Unfortunately Twente managed to catch Fulham in-between modes and netted an unlikely equaliser on 41 minutes when a cross from the right found the head of Luuk de Jong in a central position. The striker’s header struck the woodwork, only to rebound over the line off the back of Mark Schwarzer’s head.
Fulham started the second-half well and could have retaken the lead on 52 minutes when Pajtim Kasami’s cross was glanced just wide of the far post by a Clint Dempsey diving header.
The chances continued to come for Fulham and Johnson could hardly believe his luck when the ball fell invitingly after Dempsey managed to force his was past his defender. Mihaylov, unfortunately, was alive to the danger and smothered the shot well.
Mihaylov was involved again on 62 minutes, turning away a shot from Johnson after Dembele tormented the Twente defence again with a run across the face of the penalty area.
Andrew Johnson’s involvement in the game ended on 65 minutes, when he made way for Bobby Zamora. The substation maintained Fulham’s attacking momentum and on 69 minutes another excellent cross from Kasami found the head of Steve Sidwell, whose powerful run into the box went unchallenged. Had the header been on target, there would have been little Mihaylov could have done.
The momentum swung back in Twente’s favour as the match approached the final ten minutes but Fulham’s defence, bolstered by the inclusion of Philippe Senderos in place of Matthew Briggs, was able to draw Twente’s sting.