UEFA Europa League: Thursday Round-Up
2009-12-03 - Added by
ExtraFootie's David Segar rounds-up all the action from Thursday
evening's Europa League action as Fulham keep their qualification hopes
alive, Roma beat Basel and PSV Eindhoven secured their passage to the
A Zoltan Gera header was enough for Fulham to come out of their tie against CSKA Sofia with a much needed 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Roy Hodgson's men went into the match knowing anything less then a win
would leave them teetering on the brink of elimination, though things
seemed straightforward enough as the hosts dominated the early
Despite having to make six changes from the team which drew with Bolton
on Saturday, Fulham asserted themselves with ease and could have taken
the lead when Simon Davies had a shot which was well saved by Sofia
keeper Zdravko Chavdarov.
They were then handed a glorious chance the break the deadlock on nine
minutes when Gera was fouled in the box by Ivan Ivanov. However, the
normally reliable Danny Murphy 'done a Baggio' and sent his penalty skywards.
The Cottagers were battering their Bulgarian counterparts, and soon had
the breakthrough their play deserved when Bjorn-Helge Riise floated an
inviting cross from the right over two Sofia defenders for Gera to
steal in and head home.
Fulham didn't let up and continued to pepper the away goal with
chances, with Bobby Zamora and Davies both missing excellent
opportunities to put the game to bed.
CSKA, whose manager didn't turn up till half time thanks to a delayed
flight, came out fighting in the second half, despite already having
been eliminated from the competition.
Stephen Kelly had to be alert to deny Todor Yanchev a run on goal, and
Spas Delev screwed a shot wide when Yordan Minev was allowed to get a
Having replaced Brede Hangeland with Aaron Hughes at half time, Fulham
appeared to lose their solidity at the back and Sofia were creating
chances like they couldn't in the first half.
The superbly named Brazilian, Michel Platini, came on for the visitors
but was unable to come close to resembling his French namesake in any
Fulham were having to resort to counter-attacking football as they were
pushed onto the back foot for the final fifteen minutes, but they held
on and recorded just their second win of the group.
Hodgson's side will guarantee their place in the final 32 if they can beat FC Basel in the final set of matches after the Swiss outfit lost 2-1 to Roma in the Stadio Olimpico.
Thorsten Fink's side took a shock lead in Italy through Benjamin Huggel, though the Giallorossi
were able to persevere after a penalty from Francesco Totti and a Mirko
Vucinic strike gave them the win to confirm their place in the knockout
Elsewhere, PSV Eindhoven also booked their qualification after a 1-0 win over Sparta Prague in the Phillips Stadion thanks to a dramatic injury time own goal by former West Ham defender Tomas Repka.
The other game in Group K saw FC Copenhagen give themselves a chance of grabbing the other spot in the group after beating CFR Cluj 2-0 in Denmark, with goals coming from Martin Vingard and Dame Ndoye.
Group L had been tied up long ago, but nevertheless Athletic Bilbao and Werder Bremen continued to dominate as the Spaniards defeated Austria Vienna 3-0 thanks to away goals from Fernando Llorente (2) and on-loan Liverpool defender Mikel San Jose.
Werder Bremen dispatched of Nacional with a 4-1 home win courtesy of
goals from Marcus Rosenberg (2), Marcelo Moreno and Marko Marin, and
only a three goal loss to Athletic in their final group match will deny
them top spot.
In Group D, Bundesliga's bottom club Hertha Berlin gave their season some sunshine as a 1-0 win at FK Ventspils put them in a strong position to qualify thanks to a goal by Raffael, though the Brazilian was later sent off.
Heerenveen were denied what would have been a crucial win in the other game by Sporting Lisbon
after the group winners grabbed a 90th minute equaliser in Portugal via
Leandro Grimi after Oussama Aissaidi had given the Dutch side the lead.
Group F saw Frank Rijkaard's Galatasaray confirm themselves as group winners after a Gilberto Silva own goal condemned Panathinaikos to a 1-0 defeat in Istanbul.
The Greek side must now avoid a two-goal defeat to Dinamo Bucharest in the final round of games to qualify after the Romanian side beat Sturm Graz 2-1 thanks to a brace from Marius Niculae.
Finally, Group J could only muster one solitary goal as Toulouse gave themselves a chance of progression after a 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade in France courtesy of a goal from former Bolton player Daniel Braaten.
The victory leaves Toulouse just a point behind Club Brugge after the Belgian outfit could only draw 0-0 with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.