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Fulham ruin Man Utd day in London

last updated Monday 23rd August 2010, 8:55 AM
Fulham keeper David Stockdale
Fulham keeper David Stockdale
David Stockdale
Fulham (0) 2 Man Utd (1) 2

Fulham defender Brede Hangeland headed a last-minute equaliser to deny Manchester United victory in a gripping Premier League clash at Craven Cottage.

United appeared to be heading for victory when Hangeland scored an unfortunate own goal with seven minutes go - the first act of a breathless climax.

Nani missed a penalty moments later that would have put Sir Alex Ferguson's side 3-1 up after Damien Duff handled in the area.

And United were punished for Nani's wastefulness in the final twist as Hangeland atoned for his earlier blunder by powering a header past Edwin van der Sar.

Match Stats Fulham Man Utd
Goals 2 2
Possession 42% 58%
Goal attempts 20 22
On Target 8 8
Passing Success 80.3% 84.0%
Tackles 14 6
Tackles Success 78.6% 66.7%
Corners 5 11
Off-sides 0 2
Saves 7 6
Fouls 10 7
Yellows 2 2
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet
A fine start from United was rewarded in the 11th minute when the influential Paul Scholes powered home a low 25-yard drive to register his 150th goal for the club.

But Fulham, who dominated lengthy spells after the interval, showed resolve to claw back the deficit with an emphatic strike from midfielder Simon Davies.

It was a thrilling way for Mark Hughes to mark his first home match as Fulham manager while Ferguson will know his side deserved no more than a point.

Fulham defender Brede Hangeland
Fulham defender Brede Hangeland
Brede Hangeland
Ferguson would have been delighted by United's formidable start with a dashing early run from Antonio Valencia caught the eye only for Scholes, the intended recipient of his back heel, to stumble on the ball.

Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher combined to good effect without any end product as play began to concentrate on Fulham's area.

Only lightning reflexes from David Stockdale kept a header from Berbatov out but moments later the Cottagers keeper was beaten by a magnificent strike from Scholes.

The ball was sprayed around with ease from a corner until Berbatov teed up Scholes who found the bottom right corner with a powerful low drive from 25 yards out.

Davies flashed an effort over the bar at the other end but United were still looking formidable as Berbatov tested Stockdale from a tight angle.

Soon after, Bobby Zamora was gifted a free header from 10 yards out, but he could only nod a cross by Paul Konchesky wide with the target at his mercy.

Berbatov directed a header over the crossbar but United's defence was in disarray in the 31st minute and only a superb double save from Van der Sar denied Fulham.

Zamora used his strength to cause problems on the edge of the area and possession squirted out to Dempsey, who laid on a perfect pass for Dickson Etuhu.

Etuhu directed his first shot straight at Van der Sar but was presented with a second attempt when the ball rebounded to his feet only for the Dutch keeper, who was sat down, to prod the effort over the bar with an outstretched hand.

Despite the fluidity of United's play, with Berbatov, Javier Hernandez and Valencia prominent, Fulham looked very capable of pinching an equaliser.

Scholes almost jinked his way into a shooting position but Fulham were enjoying the lion's share of possession early in the second half.

Zamora blazed a free-kick over the crossbar after he had been hacked down by Jonny Evans and the balance of power was clearly shifting with the equaliser arriving in the 57th minute.

A rampaging run from Duff swept the winger away from Patrice Era before he found Zamora, whose astute pass fell to an unmarked Davies. Stood 10 yards out and with time to pick his spot, the Wales midfielder thumped the ball past Van der Sar.

Substitute Nani was making a telling impact and he expertly teed up Berbatov who was bundled off the ball as he was pulling the trigger, before Van der Sar caught a dangerous curler from Danny Murphy. At the other end, a Nani free kick crept narrowly over the crossbar before skipper Nemanja Vidic directed a header off-target.

With 11 minutes to go Zamora blew a fine chance, and Fulham were left ruing the opportunity as they conceded a disastrous own goal. Nani's innocuous-looking corner fell straight to the hapless Brede Hangeland, deflecting off his shin and into the goal.

Fulham suffered another blow in the 86th minute when Duff handled the ball, but Stockdale pulled off a fine save to deny Nani from the spot.

Yet Hangeland and Duff still had time to make amends for their errors in a breathless finish that saw Fulham get what they deserved. Duff floated in a corner from the right and Hangeland leapt high to nod it home, via a touch from the hand of the diving van der Sar.

After his late goal sealed a point for Fulham, defender Brede Hangeland admitted he was both delighted and relieved to have made up for the own goal that looked to have handed victory to Manchester United.

"Straight after I scored that goal I looked at the clock and saw five minutes to do it,'' he told Sky Sports. "It was great to be able to score from that corner.

"It's a terrible feeling (to score an own goal). I don't think I could have done anything different. It looked like someone was going to head it. I had one chance to make up for it.

"We have had a great team spirit for the last two or three years. We never say die at this club and we showed it again.''

Young goalkeeper David Stockdale, in the team for Mark Schwarzer, was Fulham's other hero for saving Nani's penalty after Duff was penalised for kneeing the ball against his own hand.

"It's a great feeling,'' Stockdale said. "It was guesswork. I just tried to get the lads out of the deep muck, and Brede came up trumps.''

Asked if he could be Schwarzer's long-term replacement, he said: "I just take it day by day.''

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson accepted Fulham were worthy of a share of the spoils.

"In fairness they deserved a point,'' he said. "They played very well in the second half. The first half belonged to us but they played better than us in the second half.

"When you have the lead and you have the opportunity to seal the game with a penalty you think you're home and dry, but I've got to give credit to Fulham.''

Ferguson felt Stockdale's save from Nani's spot-kick was a key moment.

"The goalkeeper reacted quickly and you've got to give him credit, but I think it was a bad height,'' he said.

On Paul Scholes's strike, he added: "It's never easy to score form 20-odd yards. He has a tremendous record and once again he's done it. Again, he was one of the best players on the pitch.''

Fulham Stockdale, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Duff, Murphy (Greening 81), Etuhu, Davies (Gera 90), Dempsey (Dembele 61), Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Baird, Riise.

Booked: Duff (73,d) Greening (92,f).

Davies 57(Davies equalises after a brilliant slice of play from Duff. He turned Evra, fed Zamora and he cut the ball back for Davies to finish off),
Hangeland 89 (Hangeland rises to nod Duff's corner into the net!).

Man Utd Van der Sar, O'Shea, Vidic, Jonathan Evans, Evra, Valencia (Giggs 74), Fletcher, Scholes, Park (Nani 67), Hernandez (Owen 75), Berbatov.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Smalling, Carrick, Rafael Da Silva.

Booked: Valencia, Jonathan Evans.

Scholes 11(An excellent Scholes strike as Berbatov laid it back to him from 30 yards out.),
Hangeland 84 og (Ball bounces off Hangeland's knee into the net.)

Att: 25,643

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire) ( An embarrassing performance from Ref Walton in particular when he claimed to have missed Evans mugging Dembele in the box but decided that Duff accidentally kneeing the ball onto his hand was a pen for Man Utd) .

Source soccernet
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