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No Michu, no problem as Swans deepen Fulham gloom

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29 Dec 2012 18:16:46

No Michu, no problem as Swans deepen Fulham gloom

Fulham's alarming slide towards the Premier League's relegation zone continued on Saturday when they lost 2-1 at home to Swansea City.

Goals either side of half-time from Danny Graham and Jonathan de Guzman put the visitors 2-0 up before Bryan Ruiz replied for Fulham, who have won only one of their last 12 league matches.

Defeat left Fulham just four points above the relegation places in 14th place, while Swansea remain ninth after extending their unbeaten run to three matches.

Swansea were without injured top scorer Michu but it did not prevent them from taking the lead after 19 minutes at Craven Cottage.

Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale, playing in place of Mark Schwarzer, saved from Nathan Dyer but Graham swivelled to turn the ball home and claim only his second league goal of the season.

Kerim Frei sought to produce an immediate riposte for Fulham, but his cross-shot flashed fractionally wide of the far post.

Fulham coach Martin Jol handed a first start to Ruiz since his recent return from a hamstring injury, and the Costa Rican was at the forefront of the hosts' attempts to get back into the game.

He twice shot over the bar and when he finally located the target, in the 39th minute, his 25-yard effort drew an excellent stop from Swansea goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel.

Ruiz threatened again early in the second period, whipping a free-kick inches wide of the right-hand post, but within moments, a clanger from Stockdale saw Swansea go 2-0 up.

In attempting to clear a back-pass, the Fulham goalkeeper inadvertently drove the ball into the legs of team-mate Brede Hangeland and De Guzman was left with a simple finish.

The hosts hit back immediately, but their goal was not without controversy.

After Dimitar Berbatov had hit the bar and then seen a shot blocked, Ruiz forced the ball home, but Swansea felt it should have been disallowed for offside because Ruiz's shot flicked off Fulham's Sascha Riether.

Tremmel saved superbly from Frei and Berbatov had a goal ruled out for offside late on, but De Guzman's fortuitous strike ultimately proved sufficient for Michael Laudrup's Swansea.


AFP

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