Fulham 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: Bobby Zamora Wonder Strike Beats Holders
a fighting display...
Whites beat reigning champs thanks to Zamora`s long range effort, according to Goal.com.
Fulham 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: Line-up & stats
Europa League results/standings
Fulham produced a fighting display to beat reigning Europa League champions Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 thanks to goals from Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera.
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson made two changes from the side that dumped Notts County out of the FA Cup, with Stephen Kelly in for the ineligible Nicky Shorey and Gera returning at the expense of David Elm.
Holders Shakhtar Donetsk lined up without experienced forward Julius Aghahowa, but influential Brazilians Fernandinho, Willian and Jadson all started.
The hosts made an excellent start to the match and nearly took the lead in the very first minute. A Danny Murphy free-kick found Brede Hangeland unmarked at the far post but he could only power his header straight at Andriy Pyatov
With just two minutes played, Fulham took the lead through the Hungarian Gera. Danny Murphy played a low through ball into Zamora; the striker laid the ball off to Gera who fired his left foot shot under Pyatov. The Ukrainian goalkeeper should have done better but it was an excellent move from Fulham and gave them a deserved early lead.
Fulham’s goal sparked the defending champions into life with midfielder Ilsinho the creative force, but, despite holding onto possession, they were unable to find a way through Fulham’s well organised defence.
In the 21st minute the home side had a chance to double their lead; a foul by Yaroslav Rakitskiy on Zamora 25 yards out from goal gave Fulham a free-kick in a promising position. Experienced midfielder Danny Murphy stepped up and curled the ball around the wall but it didn’t do enough to creep past Pyatov.
Three minutes later Mark Schwarzer had his first shot to save. Shakhtar worked the ball from right to left presenting Willian with a chance to run at Chris Baird. The attacking midfielder found himself a shooting opportunity but his shot deflected off Baird and was easy for Schwarzer to save.
The Ukrainians were slowly finding their feet and beginning to find gaps in the Fulham defence. A patient build up from the defending champions created an opportunity for Darijo Srna to fire a long range shot which curled away from Schwarzer.
One minute later Shakhtar were back in the game thanks to a calm Luiz Adriano goal following a wonderfully crafted passing move. Ilsinho delivered a defence splitting pass to find Luiz Adriano racing through on goal and the Brazilian striker took the ball around Schwarzer before slotting home to level the scores and give the visitors a vital away goal.
Roy Hodgson’s half-time team talk clearly had an effect as the opening stages of the second half began very evenly and saw much better build up play by Fulham who were also not giving Shakhtar as much time in possession
In the 62nd minute Fulham took the lead against the run of play thanks to an outstanding strike from Zamora. Gera flicked Murphy’s pass into the path of the striker and he fired his 20-yard shot off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net giving Pyatov no chance.
Five minutes later Fulham nearly extended their lead as the home side began to express themselves in the match. A neat move down the right hand side released Damien Duff, his cross was met by the leaping Gera but he was unable to get enough power to beat Pyatov who made an easy save.
The home side’s dominance continued and in the 69th minute Zamora should have made it 3-1. A free-kick from Danny Murphy found the Englishman unmarked at the back post but he put his header wide with Pyatov nowhere.
Shakhtar’s mid season break in league competition appeared to be catching up with them as they struggled to find the form they showed at the end of the first half. Coach Mircea Lucescu attempted to freshen things up with 15 minutes to go as new signing Douglas Costa replaced Jadson.
As the visitors searched for a second equaliser, the game became scrappy and chances were at a premium. With nine minutes to play, Willian worked a nice move with Ilsinho but his shot went harmlessly wide of Schwarzer’s goal.
In injury time Schwarzer made a match winning save from Fernandinho as the Brazilian jinked his way into the box and fired goalwards only to see the Australian goalkeeper make a diving save to secure Fulham’s victory.