European Soccer

Fulham fights back to reach Europa League Final

ZoltanGera (ISIphotos.com) 

Photo by ISIphotos.com

Fulham looked destined to fall short of its dream run to the Europa League final. Trailing Hamburg late in the second half, and needing two goals to win their two-leg semifinal, the Cottagers pulled off yet another stunning comeback to book their place in a final few could have seen them playing in.

Goals from Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera helped erase a one-goal deficit and give Fulham a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage that gave Fulham the semifinal series victory on aggregate.

Fulham will now play Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final after the Spanish club defeated Liverpool on away goals. Liverpool posted a 1-0 regulation victory to force extra time, andthe Red looked poised to join Fulham in the final when Yossi Benayoun scored a would-be winner, but Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan spoiled the all-England final with a goal that won Atletico the series.

In case you missed them, here are the goal highlights from Fulham's triumph:

What did you think of Fulham's latest comeback? Amazed to see Fulham reach the final? Think Clint Dempsey and the Cottagers can win the final?

Share your thoughts below.

  • OC

    Quality from Simon Davies, immaculate first 2 touches and a top-class finish. Very impressed with this goal AND the free kick. Despite being Europe’s ‘other’ tournament, this highlight displays some exceptional Europa League football.


  • Greg W.

    Fulham have the heart, the desire AND the discipline to win. They are a small market team, with a small stadium and and a small budget AND yet, they have excellent coaching and play excellent team football. This is a team that has nothing to lose… They are the epitome of underdogs and have played like it the entire tournament. Win or lose, they will not go down without a fight (so long as Schwarzer is there to keep them in the game). They have excellent strikers in Zamora (and Dempsey off the bench) and quality playmakers in Davies, Gera, Duff and Murphy. In American terms, these guys are the ultimate Dirt Dawgs or Cowboys. They have HEART and STONES below their belts….. got gem ’em Fulham. It’s all yours to win!!!


  • Hokierama

    One of the best games that I have watched….period. I thought bringing in Dempsey allowed Fulham to attack the ENTIRE final third because until that time, Fulham kept trying to punch the ball to Zamora and play off of him.


  • Red

    Classic celebrations with a Deuce interview at the end:

    This is Fulham for heaven’s sake!


  • William the Terror

    Fulham sits 12th in the EPL table at present and makes the final of the Europa League. I think that speaks volumes as to which league in Europe is the strongest top to bottom. But, I’m sure others will disagree.


  • Natty

    I have heard a bit of whingeing (or however you spell that) from the competition that Fulham has slightly underplayed their late season to rest players for this tournament (since they are out of contention for Europe and relegation this year). Maybe that’s part of their 12th place position?


  • Josh M

    I happen to agree that England’s the strongest top-to-bottom league, but I think this reasoning’s a little misleading. Fulham have been concentrating on the Europa League for 2+ months now, only doing enough to ensure their safety. They’d be up in the top ten otherwise I think.


  • David

    That really is about as special a moment as you can get in sports. They went from needing a win against Portsmouth on the last day of the season 2 years ago to avoid relegation to the final of the Europa League. As far as most people in that league were concerned 2 years ago they were a bunch of has beens or never was’ and now they are in a European final. They are about the best example of what good coaching and a team before the individual atitude can do. I absolutely love it. I was ready to figure out a way to watch them in the Championship 2 years ago and now they are in a European Final.


  • William the Terror

    I did not “forget.” I am a Manchester United fan and only acknowledge that hated other team when absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, it will be absolutely necessary to acknowldege them this weekend, as I need them to beat or tie another hated team, Chelsea, if my boys are to have any chance of retaining the Premier League title. Yuck. The mere thought of having to hope for Liverpool to help us makes me want to poke out my eyes with a pair of scissors.


  • Second City

    Well said.

    Roy Hodgson is a fantastic manager of men and of talent. He continually finds a way to bring the best out in a squad (limited at times).

    He and David Moyes, for more reasons than one, are my two favorite managers within the EPL.


  • IpointOuttheObviousyetIaskQuestions

    Way to go Fulham. Shame that Liverpool aren’t going through but at least now I wouldn’t be conflicted over who to support. Come on Dempsey. If he scored the game-winner in the final he’d be the most celebrated American footballer in England for decades to come.


  • William the Terror

    unless he also scores the game winner against England on June 12, in which case i’m guessing that he won’t be getting the warmest of receptions next season at away games (but which I think he will accept as the price of glory at the World Cup). Go, Deuce.


  • johnnycougar

    I love how that little kid stands up first right before Davies scores. Just gives me chills for some reason.

    I think a couple people mentioned it yesterday, but Dempsey really energized the team when he came on. I was wondering at first (when watching it alone) if it was my American bias that made me think that, but I’m glad to see others felt the same way. It was night and day to how they started the 2nd half.


  • mwc

    Agree. When you think of the players Roy has brought in and the ones he has worked with to make better, it is unbelievable. Gera, Dempsey, Baird all have improved under Roy and all were players that the supporters bashed endlessly as not Prem quality. Dumping a popular Bullard and using the money to bring on Duff. Bringing on Hangeland, an unknown, to anchor the defense. Schwarzer. I could go on. This club was nearly relegated on a couple of recent occasions. I wish we could get that kind of coaching at the USMNT level as I believe the USMNT has the talent to be better.


  • Fireball

    Yeah, and I love that they have a chance to do Europe again if they win the final! Even if they finish 12th in the Premier.


  • DC Josh

    Swoop up Hodgson before the English FA do USSF. He has cemented that team together with remarakable comradery. One of the best.

    Fulham will win the final. I can feel it. You can sense when a team is up for the game, that they will eventually score. Like Barcelona Wednesday, and Fulham last night. Hodgson will have his boys prepared May 12th. It’ll be an amazing match.


  • K Bone

    Damn, those were all hot goals. Davies’s goal was fantastic, but good lord that free kick by the dude from Hamburg was ridiculous too. Looked like an awesome game and I’m happy for Fulham…


  • mwc

    I have been asking for Hodgson (or Moyes) to be looked at as USMNT coach for some time now because of what he has achieved with what he has had to work with. That’s the kind of coach that could improve the USMNT. Being an international coach is a different thing than being a club manager, but Roy has done it before. I think Roy would go to England’s position if asked, though. Oh, and we still have Gulati and the rest of that crew running things so it is likley that no legit foreign coach will want to come here.


  • BSU SC

    It’s “the other team” from Madrid against the “other, other, other, other team” from London. It’s great to see Athletico and Fulham getting the long overdue attention that they deserve. It should be a very entertaining final.


  • Paul

    I focused on that kid, too, for some reason. The whole shot, depicting the fans’ anticipation and elation, was mesmerizing.


  • inkedAG

    Two/three seasons ago, Fulham fought off relegation in the last game of the season. Now, they are in a Cup Final. Awesome for them and I hope they win the Europa Cup!


  • r.benjamin

    Super entertaining game. thanks to directv getting this one right and providing in HD.

    Craven cottage for all its “small venue = small team issues” seems to be a great place to see a game and it comes over real well on the tv. charm.

    I wonder if Zamora lost out on England yesterday. Played well early but offered nothing later. It was noticable once Dempsey came in.


  • Dennis

    Yes! Isn’t it great when the little one can see things coming before the older blokes have a clue?


  • Dennis

    I thought Zamora looked injured as he often hobbled about. His first chance early in the game was great effort and stopped only be excellent last-second defending.


  • patrick

    he’s got an achilles injury hes been battling. He wasn’t even expected to start yesterday


  • KenC

    Seeing the Hamburg goal in replay, I think Schwarzer could have had it, if he fully committed to it, he seemed to shuffle a few too many times.

    Davies had a great first goal of the season, I thought it was Clint when he first scored, as it was so Clint-like. I did notice Clint running across the box to draw two defenders giving Simon just one to beat on the turn. Great!

    As good as Hodgson has been, he does wait too long to substitute, and he sticks with players too long when they are out of form.

    The middle with Etuhu and Murphy needs upgrading for next season.


  • tommy w

    I agree MWC. I believe the USMNT has more potential than Fulham. I’m not anti-Bob Bradley, no infact I think he is a great coach. However I have to agree that I believe a coach like Hodgson could get more out of our national team, I’m not too sure a huge amount of other foreign coaches could. Hodgson is a seriously quality manager isn’t he?


  • Jreid

    Just a side note, even if Fulham do not win the final they can still qualify for the competition again next year based on England’s place in the UEFA Fair Play League, 3rd, and their own place in the EPL Fair Play Table. The teams ahead of them have already qualified via league position, Arsenal and Spurs. If Fulham do complete this fantastic journey, then Burnley, yes Fizzy Pop bound Burnley, will qualify for next years Europa League. COYW!!!!!!


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