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Fulham 4-3 Leicester: Montella master class

last updated Thursday 18th January 2007, 12:43 AM
Vincenzo Montella
Vincenzo Montella - class

Vincenzo Montella came off the bench to inspire a dramatic comeback as Fulham snatched a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 4-3 win against Leicester.

The Italian striker, signed on loan from Roma, scored twice in the second half as Fulham hit back from 3-1 down.

The crowning glory was reserved for Wayne Routledge, who secured the victory deep into injury time after a tricking his way into space inside the Leicester box.

Up until Montella's introduction Leicester had bossed the game and were good value for their lead.

After Brian McBride had equalised Matt Fryatt's 13-minute opener, Leicester surged ahead with strikes either side of half-time from Gareth McAuley and James Wesolowski.

But Montella's impact changed the face of the game and it is Fulham, having ended a run of six straight draws in incredible fashion, who will host Stoke in the fourth round.

Fulham had shown early flashes of promise when Routledge ran at the Leicester defence, but for the first 45 minutes they were slack and disorganised, particularly in defence.

And it took Leicester just 13 minutes to take advantage. Stephen Hughes launched a long ball over the head of Carlos Bocanegra which Fryatt latched on to before sliding his shot into the corner of the net.

Fryatt had a chance to double it soon after when he cut in off the right wing, left Tomasz Radzinski stranded, but saw Tony Warner save his curling shot.

It was Leicester who looked like the Premiership team - they were hungrier for the ball, snappier in the tackle and were so comfortable and confident in possession that visiting fans began to greet each pass with an 'ole'.

The Foxes were picking holes in the Fulham defence at will and Warner was forced to concede a corner from Patrick McCarthy's rising shot.

Routledge led a three on two break from inside the Fulham half but he ignored McBride's shouts to the right and was snared by the retreating McAuley, who earned a free kick into the bargain.

The home support were frustrated but Fulham eventually conjured up a breakthrough 10 minutes before the interval.

McBride worked half a yard inside the Leicester box to bring down Radzinski's cross and hammer home the equaliser.

Leicester lost Danny Tiatto who appeared to have suffered a bloody nose and the Australian was replaced by Wesolowski.

Match Stats Fulham Leicester
Goals 4 3
Possession 47% 53%
Goal attempts 18 8
On Target 9 4
Corners 5 2
Off-sides 3 3
Fouls 8 13
Yellows 1 0
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet



But the Foxes remained on the front foot and regained the lead in first-half stoppage-time when McAuley wrestled his way past Queudrue at the far post to meet Levi Porter's free-kick.

Within a minute of the restart Leicester took further advantage of Fulham's sluggish defence to extend their lead.

Fryatt cut into the box from the left after linking cleverly with Hume and teed up Wesolowski, whose crisp shot flew past Warner.

But the introduction of Montella, who scored 84 goals in 132 starts for Roma, brought a touch of class to Fulham's forward play - and that brought the confidence flooding back into their game.

Within six minutes of coming on he had crashed a shot against the foot of the post and then turned in Michael Brown's low cross as Fulham posted an immediate riposte.

Montella was then at the centre of everything Fulham did. He had a shot which sailed over and then rose for a header which was blocked inside the Leicester box.

And just before the hour he hauled Fulham level when he climbed to meet Routledge's corner at the far post and head his second goal in seven minutes.

Fulham were now laying siege on Leicester's goal as they searched for a winner.

Queudrue came close with a header from another Routledge delivery and the Frenchman swung a free-kick narrowly wide of the top corner.

And as the clock ticked through injury-time, Routledge conjured up one last trick. He cut in between two defenders and slid his shot under Henderson to seal a dramatic Fulham comeback.

Fulham: Warner, Rosenior, Christanval, Bocanegra, Queudrue, Routledge, Volz, Brown, Radzinski, Helguson, McBride (Montella 46).
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Runstrom, Zakuani, Omozusi.

Booked: Bocanegra (62,f).

McBride 35,
Montella 51,
Montella 60,
Routledge 90.

Leicester: Henderson, McAuley (Stearman 81), Kisnorbo, McCarthy, Maybury, Hughes (Cadamarteri 82), Williams, Tiatto (Wesolowski 38), Porter, Hume, Fryatt.
Subs Not Used: Logan, Johansson.

Goals: Fryatt 13, McAuley 45, Wesolowski 47.

Att: 11,222

Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire)











Source soccernet
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