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Fulham 1 - 0 Sochaux - Match Report

last updated Thursday 01st August 2002, 10:36 AM
Sean Davis, Fulham's England Under-21 midfielder, succeeded where his strikers failed by scoring in the last minute to give his club the narrowest lead to take to France in the second leg next week. Davis struck with a volley at the far post from the Japanese debutant Junichi Inamoto's corner just when this dour contest with Sochaux seemed destined to end goalless.

Inamoto, who was released by Arsenal after just a handful of performances, has something to prove after failing with his first chance in English football's big time.

Cheered whenever he touched the ball, Inamoto had come on at half-time in an unaccustomed role on the right of midfield. But he was isolated for much of the time.

With uncertainty over the Craven Cottage redevelopment increasing, Fulham may have to get used to their new home for longer than their anticipated two-year stay. The club have said that they will keep their options open in the face of residential opposition.

Fulham play attractive, one-touch football and their defence remains solid but rarely is there any end-product. And again Louis Saha lacked the means to convert half-chances.

Sylvain Legwinski went close from a corner, heading against the bar but Sochaux rarely looked troubled.

The visitors should have taken the lead just before the half-hour. Francileudo dos Santos Silva beat Fulham's offside trap but showed why he scored only one goal last season with a poor shot that allowed Edwin van der Sar to deflect the effort wide.

Certainly Fulham looked much fitter than in their previous Intertoto games, with Legwinski and Sean Davis both managing efforts which went wide.

But their attacking ineptitude was typified just before the interval when they broke from a Sochaux corner with four forwards against just two defenders. Steed Malbranque eventually gave the ball to Steve Marlet but the French striker hesitated long enough to allow a defender to block.

Fulham: Van der Sar; Ouaddou, Brevett, Melville, Goma, Legwinski, Marlet, Malbranque, Saha, Davis, Boa Morte.

Sochaux: Richert; Flachez, Saveljic, Lonfat, Boudarene, Frau (Zairi, 13), Dos Santos Silva, Pedretti, Raschke, Monsoreau, Mathieu.
Source Guardian Online
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