8 users online

MST, Chris of Jokes, telllboy, Bernard (Admin)

Fulham 1-0 Stoke Prem27 1213 Daily Telegraph

last updated Tuesday 26th February 2013, 11:18 PM

Daily Telegraph Logo
Gerry Cox at Daily Telegraph

Fulham (1) 1 Stoke (0) 0

Dimitar Berbatov showed why he is so highly valued by Martin Jol with a sumptuous strike to sink Stoke City and prove a point to his manager. Jol called on the Bulgarian to come up with the goods - and goals - and Berbatov responded with a spectacular volley in first-half stoppage time.

He said afterwards: "I practise that in training against Mark Schwarzer and score the same goals every time. It is just a moment when you need to do something special, and you do it."

But Jol smiled as he said: "I think he is exaggerating. The reason he ran to me when he scored was because I told him a couple of months ago that he never scores with volleys.

"It was a good goal, but it was also a special effort from the team and the goalkeeper. Mark Schwarzer saved the day for us."

Indeed Stoke might have nicked a point at least but for Schwarzer, who made three fine stops including a penalty save from Jon Walters in the 55th minute.

Having denied Walters in the first half and then saved from Peter Crouch at close range, Schwarzer dived low to his right to keep out the Irish striker's penalty, after Ashkan Dejagah handled Brek Shea's cross early in the second half.

A draw would have been harsh on Fulham, who showed more enterprise and attacking intent from the start. Jol had accused Stoke of playing like a 'rugby team' after losing 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium earlier this season, but it was the visitors who ended up with bloodied noses at Craven Cottage, quite literally in the case of Steven Nzonzi, whose nose was broken by an accidental elbow from Berbatov in the first half. Nzonzi subsequently escaped with only a caution after slapping Bryan Ruiz in the head during a scruffy and ill-tempered first half.

Stoke were better after the break, and Schwarzer had to save from Crouch after hesitation from Philippe Senderos. But they have scored only once in the past seven away games, and manager Tony Pulis admitted: "We missed from the penalty spot again and we need to score those chances.

"Berbatov's goal was a bit of quality, but if Jon had scored the penalty it would have been a completely different game.

"Again we've come away from a game which has been very close, and scrappy, with nothing. Our quality, crossing and final pass was poor, and that is how we've been away from home."

Fulham are now only a point behind Stoke in a comfortable mid-table position having flirted with the relegation battle, and Jol added: "We have had a few vital games recently and those were important points for us today."

Source .
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"