Sunday 21 March 2010, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Murphy (pen) 75'
Manchester City
Manchester City
2
Santa Cruz 7'; Tévez 36'
Sunday 21 March 2010

75' Penalty

Danny Murphy

51' Substitution

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

54' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Stefano Okaka
Off:Zoltán Gera

79' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Bjorn Helge Riise
Off:Chris Baird

7' Goal

Roque Santa Cruz

36' Goal

Carlos Tévez

78' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Nigel de Jong
Off:Roque Santa Cruz

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Shaun Wright-Phillips
Off:Adam Johnson

90' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Nedum Onuoha
Off:Craig Bellamy

0
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75
90

Chris Smalling and Danny Murphy returned to the starting line-up for Fulham as the Whites got back into Barclays Premier League action following Thursday evening’s historic win over Juventus. Smalling took the place of Brede Hangeland in central defence whilst Chris Baird returned to the right-back position, allowing Murphy to take up his place in central midfield.

Man City were forced into a late change when Joleon Lescott pulled up with a hamstring strain in the warm-up, he was replaced by Javier Garrido.

Mark Schwarzer was called into action in the second minute to tip a goal-bound shot from Carlos Tevez around the post at full stretch.

Manchester City took the lead on seven minutes just moments after Zoltan Gera saw his lobbed effort cleared off the line by Kolo Toure. From the clearance City quickly worked the ball up the pitch to Craig Bellamy, whose shot deflected onto the post, the rebound evaded Mark Schwarzer and fell into the path of Roque Santa Cruz who tapped the ball in from two yards. There was certainly a huge slice of fortune about the opener.

With both sides effectively cancelling each other out for a long spell following the goal, the game was characterised by a number of passes going astray as both teams looked to work a goal opportunity.

By the 26 minute mark City had registered eight shots on target to Fulham’s two, yet that stat did not accurately convey the flow of the game – which was far closer than the numbers suggested.

Carlos Tevez looked City’s most dangerous player in the first-half, often dropping off the front line the Argentinean looked to collect the ball to his feet and run at the Whites’ back line. And it was Tevez who doubled City’s lead in the 36th minute. He started the move off by feeding a pass out to Bellamy on the wing who advanced down the line and crossed back into the path of Tevez, he took the ball around Smalling and fired past Schwarzer with a smart finish.

Bobby Zamora made way for Clint Dempsey on 51 minutes as Roy Hodgson looked to refresh his second-half attacking options. The American international joined Gera up front as the Whites looked to narrow the deficit. Hodgson’s second change of the afternoon came soon after on 55 minutes when Stefano Okaka came on for Gera.

Adam Johnson fed the ball to Santa Cruz on the edge of the Fulham area as City surged forward on 57 minutes. Santa Cruz’s effort produced an excellent parry from Schwarzer to deny the Paraguayan. Johnson himself came within a whisker of extending his side’s lead when he cut in from the right wing and drove a left footed shot towards goal, which clipped the outside of the post.

Fulham soon settled into a more recognisable rhythm as their two substitutes adjusted into the pace of the game. Damien Duff began seeing more of the ball on the right wing as the momentum started to shift in Fulham’s direction.

Whilst the Whites were looking more comfortable in possession, the better goal opportunities were still falling City’s way, with Adam Johnson again going close on 67 minutes with an attempted curler.

Danny Murphy pulled a goal back for the Whites on 74 minutes when a spell of Fulham pressure culminated in Chris Baird’s cross being handled in the area by Gareth Barry. Murphy confidently sent Shay Given the wrong way from the spot.

Fulham were most certainly on the ascendancy as Murphy and Etuhu wrestled control of the midfield area from Vieira and Barry. Roque Santa Cruz ever so gradually made way for Nigel de Jong on 79 minutes as Mancini looked to toughen his side up for the final moments.

Hodgson replaced Chris Baird with Bjorn Helge Riise on 80 minutes in a final throw of the dice. Simon Davies moved to right-back with Riise taking up position on the right wing. And Riise almost immediately presented Stefano Okaka with a great opportunity - unfortunately the Italian Under-21 international placed his finish just wide of the near post. 

There was chaos in the Man City area on 86 minutes when Riise delivered a teasing ball low across the face of the area. It was eventually hacked away following a number of desperate attempts to clear the danger.

Chris Smalling joined Dempsey and Okaka up front to add further threat to the Whites’ forward line late on. There were loud penalty appeals on 90 minutes when Riise’s cross stuck Kompany on the hand, which the referee waved away. The final whistle was blown soon after.
  

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 21 March 2010
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 25,359

Referee: Lee Probert

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Baird (Bjorn Helge Riise 79'), Hughes, Smalling, Konchesky; Duff, Murphy, Etuhu, Davies; Gera (Okaka 54'), Zamora (Dempsey 51')

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Kelly, Shorey, Greening

Manchester City

Line-up: Given; Zabaleta, Kompany, Touré, Garrido; Adam Johnson (Wright-Phillips 83'), Vieira, Barry, Bellamy (Onuoha 90'); Tévez, Santa Cruz (de Jong 78')

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Richards, Sylvinho, Ireland

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 31 69
2 Arsenal 31 67
3 Chelsea 29 64
4 Tottenham Hotspur 30 55
5 Manchester City 29 53
6 Liverpool 31 51
7 Aston Villa 29 50
8 Everton 30 45
9 Birmingham City 30 44
10 Fulham 30 38
11 Stoke City 30 36
12 Sunderland 30 34
13 Blackburn Rovers 29 34
14 Bolton Wanderers 31 32
15 Wigan Athletic 31 31
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 30 28
17 West Ham United 30 27
18 Burnley 31 24
19 Hull City 30 24
20 Portsmouth 30 22
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 6Chris Baird
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 26Chris Smalling
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 29Simon Davies
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 25Bobby Zamora
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 2Stephen Kelly
  • 7Nicky Shorey
  • 17Bjorn Helge Riise
  • 27Jonathan Greening
  • 9Stefano Okaka
  • 23Clint Dempsey
Manchester City (4-4-2)
  • 1Shay Given
  • 5Pablo Zabaleta
  • 4Vincent Kompany
  • 28Kolo Touré
  • 15Javier Garrido
  • 11Adam Johnson
  • 24Patrick Vieira
  • 18Gareth Barry
  • 39Craig Bellamy
  • 32Carlos Tévez
  • 14Roque Santa Cruz
Substitutes
  • 12Stuart Taylor
  • 2Micah Richards
  • 16Sylvinho
  • 24Nedum Onuoha
  • 7Stephen Ireland
  • 8Shaun Wright-Phillips
  • 34Nigel de Jong