Fulham 4-0 Crusaders: Match Report
Fulham kept their European dream alive with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Crusaders in the Europa League second qualifying round at Craven Cottage, progressing 7-1 on aggregate.
The west Londoners' second leg win came after a comfortable 3-1 success at Seaview and sets up a trip to Croatian side RNK Split next week.
Fulham were frustrated in the first half and Andrew Johnson's neat finish to a team move was the only goal to show for their barrage of attacks. However, goals were much easier to come by after the restart as Damien Duff, Bobby Zamora and Steve Sidwell all netted to send the majority of the 15,767 supporters home happy.
The Cottagers exerted pressure without too much effort and converted dominance into an opening goal with a slick team move in the 19th minute.
Debutant John Arne Riise squared a cross from the left flank and Zamora's step-over gave Johnson the opportunity to jink wide of his marker and strike low into the bottom left corner.
The home faithful thought Sidwell had doubled Fulham's advantage five minutes later, but his neat flick from Johnson's cross had only rippled the side-netting. Zamora's stooping header tested goalkeeper Sean O'Neill as the home side continued to press.
Fulham continued in the same vein after the break and only a point-blank save from O'Neill prevented Sidwell nodding home Duff's free-kick. Sidwell was proving a real thorn in Crusaders' side and came a whisker away from netting with a 52nd-minute back-post header that nicked the post before going wide.
However, Duff soon ended any remaining hopes the Northern Irish side had of progression by shooting across goalkeeper O'Neill from a tight angle after latching on to a great ball from Philippe Senderos.
Fulham netted a third goal in the 66th minute after another slick team move, with Duff stepping over Johnson's left-wing cross for Zamora to finish with gusto, and the west Londoners' advantage was increased further four minutes later as Sidwell belatedly netted by heading home Duff's corner.
Jol made wholesale changes after the fourth goal and substitute Bjorn Helge Riise almost made the ideal impact, although his fierce shot went just wide. The effort was the last moment of note as the game petered out, as Fulham secured a clean sheet and progression to the third qualifying round.
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