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Fulham 1 Charlton 0 - Match Report

last updated Sunday 06th October 2002, 7:32 PM
Fulham (1) 1-0 (0) Charlton
Fulham striker Facundo Sava allowed English football to discover an unusual new goalscoring celebration - by donning a Zorro mask to mark his winner against lowly Charlton at Loftus Road.

The Argentinian striker, who wore wolf masks to mark goals for his home-country club Gimnasia La Plata, today unveiled the black headgear after he tucked home Dean Kiely's 36th-minute parry for the winner.

Fulham striker Facundo Sava
Fulham's Argentinian striker Facundo Sava grabs the only goal of the match and ensures Fulham take all 3 points
Fulham started like a steam train and were desperately close to scoring twice in the first three minutes.

First, Steve Marlet met Steed Malbranque's left-wing free-kick with a glancing header which cannoned into the far post, back onto his head and over the crossbar.

Then Luis Boa Morte scooped over a cross from the left and Facundo Sava's close-range header looped just over Dean Kiely's crossbar.

Charlton should have taken the lead when Jason Euell benefited from a lucky deflection inside the Cottagers penalty area but chose to square the ball rather than shoot.

Charlton's Shaun Bartlett flashed a drive over the top after a Zat Knight and Andy Melville mix-up in the 13th minute while Boa Morte fired just past the far post after a great run down the inside-left channel.

Addicks' centre-back Mark Fish sailed close to the wind with 18 minutes on the clock, shoulder-barging Steve Marlet to the floor as he raced onto Malbranque's threaded through-ball.

The French striker did appear to fall rather easily however and referee Jeff Winter ignored furious Fulham claims for a foul with Marlet racing in on goal.

Jean Tigana's men were in the ascendancy now, with Malbranque's clever passes in behind the Charlton backline and Boa Morte's threatening runs on the left appearing the most likely source of the opening goal.

The pace had slackened as the half wore on, although Euell injected some life into the game when he jinked inside Sylvain Legwinski and Knight in the 35th minute - but disappointingly curled his shot into Edwin van der Sar's midriff.

The first goal did arrive 60 seconds later - but at the other end.

Malbranque had a pot-shot from 20 yards and Kiely pushed the ball straight to Sava, who scored easily from six yards.

Sava in his maskAnd the Argentinian delighted Fulham's fans as he celebrated by pulling a black face mask from his sock, strapping it over his ears and racing to the crowd.

The celebration stems from his time at Gimnasia la Plata in his homeland, when he marked his goals by wearing wolf masks.

Van der Sar made an incredible mistake on the stroke of half-time, rolling the ball straight to Charlton's John Robinson.

He squared it to Euell, who - when faced only with van der Sar - saved the keeper's blushes by again declining to shoot and instead returning a poor pass to Robinson. He shot and van der Sar saved.

Euell's confidence - unsurprisingly - seemed to have evaporated and when the ball broke for him four minutes after the interval, he curled a 20-yard effort harmlessly high and wide.

Key moments
2 mins Marlet heads against the post
19 mins Marlet penalty appeals waved away
36 mins Sava strikes the only goal
45 mins Bartlett wastes a glorious chance
80 mins Bartlett shoots against the bar
However, the former Wimbledon frontman showed Charlton's exasperated fans he did in fact know what he was doing when he showed impressive strength to turn and shoot at van der Sar from the edge of the box.

The game exploded into a mass free-for-all in the 62nd minute, with Richard Rufus' accidental elbow on van der Sar, when challenging for a header, sparking an extreme reaction from Fulham centre-back Knight.

He and Sean Davis - his team-mate and flat-mate - were the main protagonists in the spate of handbags and seized hold of Rufus, Euell and Chris Powell. Referee Winter only penalised Rufus, dishing out a yellow card.

Match Stats Fulham Charlton
Goal attempts 9 14
On Target 5 7
Fouls 9 13
Corners 4 8
Yellows 1 2
Reds 0 0
source: www.sportinglife.com
Bartlett fluffed a glorious chance to level with six minutes left. Euell put the South African in on goal, but he hit the bar from 10 yards when it seemed easier to score.

And van der Sar made a brilliant point-blank save from Bartlett's header moments later.

In a frantic finale, Kiely saved from Junichi Inamoto - and Brevett and Euell were booked as tempers flared.

Van der Sar, Ouaddou, Knight, Melville, Brevett, Legwinski, Davis (Wome 67), Malbranque, Boa Morte (Inamoto 64), Marlet, Sava (Hayles 74).

Subs Not Used: Taylor, Collins.

Booked: Brevett(90,d).

Goals: Sava 36.

Kiely, Young (Johansson 83), Rufus, Fish, Powell, Robinson, Mustoe, Jensen, Konchesky (Lisbie 66), Euell, Bartlett.

Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Kishishev, Fortune.

Booked: Rufus(63,pi), Euell(90,d).

Att: 14,775 Ref: J Winter (Cleveland).

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