Good enough for Juve

Monday 29 April 2002

With Fulham standing one point above Everton in the Premiership table with one match to go, the fight for an Intertoto place will go down to the last match of the season.

However, if such a thing can be said in football, Fulham would look to be the favourites going into the final day as the Toffees face a difficult trip to Highbury. The fact that the Gunners could well have the title wrapped up by the time the two sides meet should have little effect on the game.

With all due respect to Blackburn Rovers, it looks like Everton could well have a tougher final game.

With Fulham being 90 minutes away from UEFA Cup qualification against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final, the Whites now have another bite at the cherry. Goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar is one who makes no bones over taking the Intertoto route to the UEFA Cup.

"I was with Juventus four years ago when we missed out on European qualification and we entered the Intertoto Cup and won through.

"It's a good competition because you get to go to strange places and countries." Said Van der Sar.

The Intertoto Cup was introduced by UEFA as a means to keep the season's excitement running up until the final day for those clubs outside the top and bottom of the table. It certainly appears to have done that. As long as Fulham finish above Everton, the whole season could be put into a different light.

A disappointing exit in the semi-final and a bad run of form towards the end of the season would all be forgotten, or at least put down to experience.

"Fulham got to the semi-final of the FA Cup this season and if we get into the Intertoto then maybe it isn't too bad. That is the only chance we have to be in Europe.

"Three points would have been important if we are to do that, and we would normally have expected to get three points against Leicester, but there was no spirit. We have not had any luck in front of goal but we are not strong enough in defence either in some games."

With tickets for the final match at Blackburn Rovers now on sale, what better way would there be to finish the season than with qualification for European competition.