Fate still in Fulham's hands despite Dutch defeat

01 December 2011 08:46

Fulham still have qualification for the knockout stages of the Europa League in their own hands despite going down to a late defeat to FC Twente in the Netherlands on Thursday.

With the match in Enschede heading for a goalless draw, giant Austrian Marc Janko struck with a minute remaining to guarantee the Dutch side top spot in Group K.

Martin Jol's men, who finished the game with 10 men after Andy Johnson was sent off for a second booking in stoppage time, are second in the section with seven points.

The Cottagers will secure their place in the last 32 of the competition by matching Wisla Krakow's result in the final round of group games in two weeks' time.

Wisla won 2-1 away to Odense and lie a point behind Fulham before hosting Twente in their last match, while Fulham still have to play Odense in London.

After all three British representatives in action on Wednesday night lost, a strong Fulham line-up were looking to become the first visiting side to win in Enschede this season.

Fulham coach Martin Jol -- a former Twente player -- sent out an attacking line-up but they failed to muster a single shot on goal in a quiet first-half.

The match did spring to life after the break, and Andy Johnson squandered a golden chance to put the Premier League side ahead on 65 minutes.

Scorer of eight goals in Europe already this season, Johnson dragged his shot wide after the ball had broken to him inside the area.

Luuk De Jong then missed the target with a free header from point-blank range at the other end, before a Danny Murphy free-kick was turned just wide by Bobby Zamora.

Under increasingly heavy rain, Twente struck the decisive blow when an Emir Bajrami cross from the right was turned home by substitute Janko.

Elsewhere, Raul further underlined his status as the greatest European goalscorer of all-time with the winner for Schalke in their home clash with Steaua Bucharest in Group J.

Raul Rusescu cancelled out Kyriakos Papadopoulos' opener in Gelsenkirchen, but the Spanish legend netted the winner just before the hour-mark.

It was the former Real Madrid man's 74th goal in UEFA competitions, putting him four clear of Filippo Inzaghi at the top of the all-time list.

The win secured Schalke top spot in the group with a game to spare, while second place remains up for grabs after AEK Larnaca of Cyprus beat Maccabi Haifa 2-1 in Nicosia.

In Group L, Anderlecht made it five wins from five with a 2-1 defeat of AEK Athens in Greece.

They are already through to the knockout stages, where they will be joined by Lokomotiv Moscow, who beat Sturm Graz 3-1 in Russia.

Source: AFP

Trending on the forum