0 users online

Fulham 1-0 Stoke Prem27 1213 The Sun

last updated Tuesday 26th February 2013, 11:12 PM

The Sun Logo
Justin Allen at SunSport

Fulham (1) 1 Stoke (0) 0

THANK goodness for Dimitar Berbatov.

This match was billed as one not worth missing your lunch for.

But the brilliant Bulgarian served up a tasty treat with his wonderful 45th-minute winner that lit up Craven Cottage.

He may frustrate managers with his lack of work-rate but, boy, doesn't he know how to score.

It was predictable Berbatov would mark his 200th Premier League game with yet another goal - his 85th in the top flight.

Since his Premier League bow for Tottenham in 2006, only Wayne Rooney (112), Robin van Persie (105) and Frank Lampard (87) have scored more. And this strike earned him a standing ovation.

Sascha Riether raced down the right flank. His cross was only half-headed clear by Robert Huth.

Berbatov watched the flight of the ball carefully, allowing it to drop on his right boot before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic from 10 yards.

The striker raced over to celebrate with his jubilant boss Martin Jol, who explained: "I'd told him he hadn't scored a volley for a long time - so he was keen to prove a point. It was a special goal."

Berbatov revealed he scores goals like that for fun in training.

He said: "It's all about practice. I score that type of goal against Mark Schwarzer every session.

"It's a moment when you need to do something special and you do it. It was a good goal - but I have had better ones."

Berbatov has now netted nine times this season and Jol said: "When I signed him in the summer, I knew he would always score between 15 to 20 goals.

"I am hoping he'll score a few more to get that total for us. But it was also a special team effort and goalkeeping display too."

Schwarzer proved a hero for Fulham by keeping out Jonathan Walters' 56th-minute penalty after Ashkan Dejagah handled a Brek Shea cross.

It was not a great strike but the Aussie keeper did well to get his 40-year-old frame down to his right to keep it out.

It was Walters' second successive miss from the spot having also failed in the 4-0 home defeat to Chelsea last month.

But boss Tony Pulis has no plans to relieve his striker of spot-kick duties any time soon.

Pulis said: "If he has the balls to take the next one, let's get behind him and let him take it.

"He has been good for us but he's disappointed today."

Had Walters levelled from the spot, it would have been a huge injustice as the Potters were outplayed for long periods and barely threatened.

Berbatov, on the other hand, was always a handful and could have scored a hat-trick of volleys.

After just a few minutes, he fired over from a Riether cross.

Then in the second half he flicked the ball over two Stoke defenders but this time his shot was saved by Begovic.

Berbatov's elbow left Steven Nzonzi with a broken nose in the first half - although there did not appear anything malicious in the challenge from TV replays.

Nzonzi played on and was booed by Fulham fans - provoking him to gesture to the crowd.

And his fury boiled over when he slapped Bryan Ruiz in the face after the Costa Rican midfielder brushed off his challenge.

Nzonzi was lucky to only be booked by referee Lee Probert.

Pulis added: "It was a flat performance from us - but a piece of quality won the game.

"It's the same story away from home. We had a chance to get something with the penalty but didn't take it."


FULHAM: Schwarzer 8, Riether 7, Senderos 6, Hangeland 6, Riise 6, Duff 6 (Emanuelson 5), Sidwell 6, Karagounis 7 (Baird 5), Dejagah 7, Ruiz 6, Berbatov 8 (Petric 5).
Subs not used: Etheridge, Hughes, Rodallega, Kacaniklic.

Booked: Ruiz.

STOKE: Begovic 6, Shotton 7, Huth 6, Shawcross 6, Wilson 6, Walters 5, Nzonzi 5, Whelan 6, Cameron 5 (Jerome 5), Etherington 5 (Shea 6), Crouch 6 (Jones 5).
Subs not used: Sorensen, Adam, Whitehead, Kightly. Booked: Nzonzi, Wilson, Shawcross.

REF: L Probert 6

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