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Wigan 1-2 Fulham Prem05 1213 The Guardian

last updated Monday 24th September 2012, 9:56 AM
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The Guardian

Wigan (0) 1 Fulham (1) 2

Hugo Rodallega was praised by both managers as he helped Fulham to a first away win of the season against his former club Wigan, lifting Martin Jol's side into the top four on Saturday.

The Colombian left the Latics in the summer after refusing to sign a contract and scored his first goal for his new club at the DW Stadium.

Rodallega is Wigan's all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League with 24 and, after a few boos early in the game, he was applauded by the home fans when he chose not to celebrate the bullet header that put Fulham ahead.

The striker was then applauded by all sides of the ground when he was substituted late in the game.

His manager, Jol, said: "I knew Rodallega would be very eager and motivated to do something nice, to score his goal and that was exactly what he did, so that was ever so pleasing for us.

He showed respect to the people and they showed him respect as well."

Rodallega's goal came in the 31st minute and Damien Duff added a second in the 68th minute before Arouna Koné pulled one back for Wigan in injury time.

Roberto Martínez, the Wigan manager, said of his former player: "Hugo showed real respect to the fans. It could have been easy for him to celebrate the goal, and rightly so.

"It was a nice gesture from him and the fans recognised that.

"Nothing hurts you more than losing a football game and nothing gives you more happiness than winning a football game so showing the respect of controlling the emotions I think was a nice touch."

Rodallega's goal owed much to the talents of Dimitar Berbatov, who again showed what a great signing he looks set to be.

The former Manchester United striker was outstanding and picked out the head of Rodallega with a peach of a cross, while he was denied three times by Ali al-Habsi as he came close to adding to his two goals against West Bromwich Albion last weekend.

Jol said: "I always thought he was a fantastic player, the only thing I see now is he can play in a different position as well.

If you go and play against Wigan in an away game you take a big gamble to play with two strikers.

I made the gamble to play with Hugo up top and Dimitar, and he was probably the best No10 you can ever imagine."

Fulham certainly merited their lead but Wigan only had themselves to blame for failing to pull level.

In the first half Jordi Gómez was desperately unlucky to see his well-struck shot hit the underside of the bar but Koné and the substitute Mauro Boselli both missed glorious openings in the second.

They were made to pay when the Fulham substitute Bryan Ruiz set up Duff for a clinically-taken second, and when Koné did eventually find the net with a crisp turn and shot it was too little, too late.

The result lifted Fulham into the top four while for Wigan it was a third defeat of the season and left them still without a home win.

Martínez was far from happy but felt the result was harsh, saying: "I don't think we deserved to lose.

What Fulham did was created a few chances, probably more than we would like.

I thought from open play a couple of times we showed a lack of intensity in defence but we had the better chances.

"When Jordi hits the crossbar it seems that it's not going to be your day. Arouna Koné and Mauro Boselli's chances were as open as you're going to get and you need to score goals.

We need to improve in certain aspects, we can't concede goals so cheaply because then it becomes very difficult to win games."

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