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  • Fulham 4-1 Wisla Krakow: Johnson double, Duff, Sidwell great-finsih

    Fulham delivered a goal scoring masterclass as they beat Wisla Krakow 4-1 in their Europa League Group K clash at Craven Cottage, Thursday 03/11/2011.
    The Cottagers scored three very different but all exceptional goals to avenge their defeat in the reverse fixture in Poland a fortnight ago and move a step closer to reaching the last 32 of the competition they reached the final of last year.

    Damien Duff opened the scoring after just five minutes with perhaps as fine a goal as he has scored in a Fulham shirt. Unperturbed, Wisla levelled four minutes later via Andraz Kirm's deflected effort.

    On the half-hour mark, Andy Johnson restored Fulham's lead with an exquisitely struck volley on the turn of which striker in the world would be proud.

    Johnson bagged his second and Fulham's third in the second half via a slick free-kick routines carried out to precision.

    Substitute Steve Sidwell then added a scrappy fourth with a little over 10 minutes remaining.

    The Game

    Perhaps given the bad blood between these sides from their first meeting, which Fulham lost 1-0 after having Moussa Dembele controversially sent off early on, the atmosphere inside the ground was vociferous right from the off.

    With the high tempo on the pitch whipping up the home crowd and Wisla's already intimidating travelling support into a frenzy, this usually genteel corner of west London into a veritable cauldron. There were reports of too many people inside the ground and the police struggling to keep matters under control - at one point smoke from flares billowed on to the pitch and made visibility very poor - but it helped make for an intoxicating spectacle.

    Duff got things rolling on the pitch when he and Bobby Zamora sparked a swift counter-attack with a one-touch move that saw the ball find its way to Johnson. The Fulham forward surged down the right before squaring the ball back inside for Duff to fire first-time past goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko.

    Soon enough, Wisla were on terms when an quick break initiated by Gervasio Nunez - the man accused of conning the referee into sending Dembele off in the reverse fixture. The ball broke for Kirm inside the box, and his strike deflected off a Fulham defender and rolled past the helpless Schwarzer.

    Johnson had the ball in the the Wisla net in Fulham's very next attack, only for the goal to be disallowed for a marginal but correct offside decision. However, the striker who once considered playing international football for Poland - as he qualified through his Polish grandfather - was not to be denied on the half-hour mark.

    A second corner in quick succession came out to Danny Murphy on the opposite flank. The Fulham skipper clipped the ball back into the box and Johnson swivelled to hit a powerful volley on the turn that fizzed and swerved before crashing in off the inside of the post.

    Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer was called into action soon after the break, saving efforts from Michael Lamey and Lukasz Gargula, before Johnson took the game away from Wisla as the hour mark approached.

    Murphy played a free-kick into the feet of Zamora, who guided it into the path of Johnson's run down the right of the area. The striker lifted the ball over the keeper for his 11th goal of the season, eight of those coming in this competition.

    Wisla still made a good fist of fighting their way back into the game, with Ivica Iliev and Dragan Paljic sending efforts over the bar, but Sidwell made it four after coming off the bench for Murphy.

    The midfielder saw his header tipped on to the bar after a short corner routine, but he reacted quickest to fire home the loose ball from a yard out.

    Considering that these two sides had played 45 games between them this season coming into the match, they both produced a fine spectacle that is a credit to an often maligned competition.
    Tony Mabert - on Twitter @tony_mabert / Eurosport

    Source: Eurosport

    Team Line-up:

    Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland, Baird, Riise, Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora. Subs: Etheridge, Sidwell, Kasami, Gecov, Frei, Grygera, Briggs
    Wisla Krakow: Pareiko, Lamey, Jaliens, Brud, Diaz, Wilk, Nunez, Paljic, Gargula, Kirm, Biton. Subs: Jovanic, Kurto, Boguski, Genkov, Jovanovic, Czekaj, Illiev.


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