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Fulham cruelly denied against Roma

last updated Friday 23rd October 2009, 8:36 AM
Fulham defender Brede Hangeland
Fulham defender
Brede Hangeland
Brede Hangeland
Fulham (1) 1 Roma (0) 1
Marco Andreolli struck a 94th-minute equaliser to earn Roma a 1-1 draw amid dramatic scenes in their Europa League Group E clash with Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Fulham appeared to have completed a deserved victory after Mark Schwarzer saved a farcical penalty, awarded when John Arne Riise went tumbling beneath a tame challenge from Stephen Kelly.

Referee Paul Allaerts initially sent off the wrong player, brandishing the red card at Brede Hangeland, before being surrounded by a crowd of angry home players. The official eventually relented, dismissing Kelly instead, and Fulham thought they had escaped when Jeremy Menez was denied by a brilliant save from Schwarzer.

But Andreolli stole in unmarked at the far post and lashed home from six yards out with the last kick of the game.

Hangeland struck his second goal for the club when he headed home a corner by Bjorn Helge Riise, though Fulham's superiority deserved at least another goal and they should have finished winners.

Roma, 11th in Serie A, arrived at Craven Cottage without talisman Francesco Totti and found themselves in desperate need of his inspiration during a difficult opening.

Match Stats Fulham Roma
Goals 1 1
Possession 50% 50%
Goal attempts 8 16
On Target 7 8
Corners 11 8
Off-sides 09 4
Saves 4 4
Fouls 17 9
Yellows 0 1
Reds 1 0
source: Soccernet
Marco Andreolli scrambled a dangerous cross by Bjorn Helge Riise to safety before keeper Doni had to make a sharp save off Jonathan Greening's shot.

Greening saw a second attempt deflected for a corner and Doni remained busy as he moved to gather a curling strike from Kelly that was destined for the bottom left corner.

Paul Konchesky threaded a magnificent ball through to Bobby Zamora but with Andreolli tugging at his shirt, he was unable to create the space to pull the trigger.

Roma were finding Fulham's crisp passing and movement a handful and when they gained possession themselves they were soon hustled off the ball.

Given their dominance, it came as little surprise when Hodgson's side surged ahead in the 24th minute. Riise sent a hanging corner to the rear of the box where Hangeland escaped the grappling arms of Andreolli before outjumping the Roma defender to head the ball past Doni.

Roma issued a reminder of the threat they can pose when John Arne Riise - playing against his brother Bjorn Helge - unleashed a blistering 18-yard drive that drew an excellent save from Mark Schwarzer.

Zamora was mobbed by Roma defenders as Fulham pressed ahead once more but the tempo had dipped after the goal. The Italian club were spending more time on the ball but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.

Whatever Claudio Ranieri said during his interval team talk had the desired effect as Roma started the second half with far greater purpose. They even had the ball in the net in the 53rd minute but Daniele De Rossi was clearly offside when he nodded Philippe Mexes' shot into the net.

Substitute Simone Perrotta dragged a good chance wide as openings appeared in Fulham's defence, but the visitors were then hit on the counter. Zamora raced down the left wing and directed a long ball across the goal intended for Diomansy Kamara only for Mexes to intervene at the crucial moment.

Doni did brilliantly to pluck the ball from Kamara's feet after Zamora had engineered a one on one - had he been a fraction later Fulham would have gone 2-0 ahead.

Schwarzer then saved Menez's penalty as Fulham fans were subjected to a nerve-shredding finale that ended in agony.

Fulham's Brede Hangeland acknowledged the disappointment of conceding a late goal in Thursday's 1-1 draw at home to Roma was hard to take.

Hangeland gave the Cottagers the lead in the Europa League match at Craven Cottage. But right at the end, Mario Andreolli earned a point for the Italians - who missed a second-half penalty.

The Norwegian defender told Five: "I think during the second half they created a few chances and maybe deserved a goal. But with 15 seconds left and the lead, you would hope you get three points - so we are really disappointed to concede a goal at the end.''

Before the equaliser, Mark Schwarzer saved a penalty from Jeremy Menez - which also saw Stephen Kelly sent off for an innocuous tackle on John Arne Riise.

Hangeland, initially red-carded for Kelly's offence in an identity mix-up, recalled: "He showed the red card to me - I was close to the situation but I didn't touch him. Stephen was close too - it was cruel to give a red card and a penalty. I just said 'it wasn't me'. The referee asked 'who was it?' - and no one volunteered ... I think we played well in the first half ... I think the boys did really well, and we came close to beating a top-class team.''

Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson said: "I've got my grave doubts as to whether it was a penalty, but they get given in those situations when a player drives into the box.

"They [the extra officials] got the wrong player with the red card but they should be making it clear that you can't give that as a last-man foul when someone [Hangeland] is coming across to cover. They bought their best players on, and we were short of numbers and we were short for a corner - which led to them equalising with the very last kick of the game.

"We had a marvellous first half - I thought we played very well. At half-time, we made some changes. But they bought on Mirko Vucinic and David Pizarro, two of their better players. It's very difficult to play with ten men. But I thought the effort was magnificent, and it was cruel. After conceding a 92nd-minute goal with ten men against West Ham, this is very hard to take.''

Fulham Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes,Konchesky (Pantsil 46), Riise (Duff 75), Greening, Baird, Gera,Zamora (Nevland 61), Kamara.
Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Dempsey, Smalling, Anderson.

Sent Off: Kelly (76).

Goals: Hangeland 24.

Roma Doni, Burdisso, Mexes, Andreolli, Riise,Taddei (Vucinic 63), Brighi (Pizarro 47), De Rossi, Guberti,Okaka Chuka (Perrotta 47), Menez.
Subs Not Used: Lobont, Julio Baptista, Greco, Cassetti.

Booked: Vucinic.

Goals: Andreolli 90.

Att: 23,561

Ref: Paul Allaerts (Belgium).

Source soccernet
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