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Marseilles 1 Fulham 2

last updated Saturday 24th March 2001, 9:35 PM
Fulham completed their French tour with an eleven-a-side friendly against Marseilles at the Stade Des Costieres on a balmy Spring evening in Nimes.

For many of the Fulham players this was a reunion with the team they had defeated only days before in the Marseilles indoor tournament where the hosts finished last. Perhaps there was an indication of what was store for the French side during the pre-match warm-up as Louis Saha thundered a shot, which hit an unsuspecting Marseilles supporter square in the back of the head.

There was a distinct continental flavour to this match as the players entered the pitch with several bright red flares lighting the stand to their left.

The match started with the French outfit keeping possession well yet failing to create any significant chances. Indeed it was Fulham who created the first serious opportunity of the match on 7 minutes when Peter Moller flicked through a high ball into the path of Louis Saha who worked his way wide of his oncoming central defenders and forced a great save out of the Marseilles ‘keeper.

Young ‘keeper Glyn Thompson was given the responsibility of guarding the Fulham goal and he acquitted himself well when he was called upon. In fact it was partly due to another couple of young players, Nicolas Sahnoun and Zat Knight, that helped reduced the workload on Thompson.

Sitting in front of the back four Sahnoun did an excellent job of breaking down any forming Marseilles attacks and Knight was as commanding as usual alongside Alan Neilson.

Without seriously threatening the Marseilles goal, Fulham began to turn the screw on the French side as they started to keep possession gradually further up the pitch.

However, just as it looked like Fulham were on the verge of creating a chance, Marseilles put together a spectacular piece of play. After hitting a long pass to the corner of the penalty area, the ball was volleyed back across the area to an onrushing forward who again, on the volley, struck at powerful shot wide of Thompson’s goal.

The second half saw Fulham continue to contain Marseille and yet also pose a significant threat.

Dane Peter Moller broke the deadlock early on. Receiving the ball inside the penalty area he managed to turn and skip past a challenge before clipping the ball home past the diving ‘keeper.

Fulham then extended the lead from the penalty spot through Louis Saha. The penalty was a formality after substitute Terry Phelan jinked inside from the left and was unceremoniously cut down.

The match was not yet over by all means as Marseilles continued to push forward in search of a way back in to the game. They got their chance with ten minutes to go after working their way through Fulham’s defence to make the score 2-1.

This set up a nervy final ten minutes as Fulham attempted to take the sting out of the game with some impressive passing moves that were, at times, cut out in on potentially dangerous positions. Marseilles went close on two occasions but a combination of excellent goalkeeping and hesitant finishing meant that Fulham came away victorious for the second time against the French side.

Thompson, W. Collins (Hudson), Neilson, Knight, Brevett (Phelan), Betsy, Sahnoun, Trollope, Clark (Riedle), Saha, Moller

Bittner, Hudson, Morgan, Phelan, Riedle
Source Fulhamfc by Dominic Guerra
Since 1998
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