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Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Europa League as it happened


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By Chris Bevan

2222: I think Dominic (below) hits the nail on the head there. It's been a night to remember for Fulham fans, who saw their side fight back to beat Italian giants Juventus and reach the Europa League quarter finals, and let's give credit to Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson for an absolutely amazing result. Plaudits too for Liverpool, who join them in the last eight, and thanks to you guys for keeping me company on an evening to remember. Join Sam Sheringham for those Euro draws at 1100 GMT on Friday morning, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon. Nighty night.

From dominic on 606: "Re 2152. Man of the night - has to be Roy Hodgson. Stand up and take a bow he has masterminded one of the most shocking European comebacks I have ever seen. Full marks to him I'd say."

From Tom from Birmingham/Altrincham, via text: "Re 2129. Owen Hargreaves was brilliant tonight. His touch and pace was amazing - he's a fresh player!"

2215: Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez on the manner of his side's Europa League win over Lille "It was difficult because Lille are a good team, but it was a fantastic atmosphere tonight and everybody is happy now. The early goal was important because we knew we had to push forward from the beginning -and that goal gave us more time and confidence. At 2-0 they were still dangerous so we needed the third goal just in case and, when it went in, it was a bit of relief."

2212: The draw for the last eight (and the Champions League quarter-finals) takes place at 1100 GMT on Friday. Nothing there for Liverpool, or Fulham, to be afraid of...

2209: Who is in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, I hear you ask? Here's who: FULHAM, LIVERPOOL, Hamburg, Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Standard Liege and Valencia. Wolfsburg and Rubin Kazan are playing extra-time for the right to join them. We've seen 33 goals in the eight games so far, and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have.

From TakeABow on 606: "Fernando Torres getting sharper and sharper each game. Think he'll revel in taking on Nemanja Vidic on Sunday. Here's to a good result there."

2202: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard on his side's 3-0 victory over Lille that saw them into the last eight of the Europa League with a 3-1 aggregate win: "We got off to a perfect start and the fans were superb for us tonight. But the aim was to get three goals because we knew they were dangerous and capable of scoring a goal. Rafa Benitez is the manager and he is allowed to criticise the team like. We have responded in our last two games and the challenge now is to take this form into our game with Manchester United on Sunday."

2159: Europa League Macca: "Hamburg see out the final minutes of their game to secure a 6-5 aggregate win over Anderlecht and Atletico Madrid also hold on to go through on away goals after an equally enthralling game at Sporting Lisbon that ended 2-2 on the night and aggregate. Wolfsburg and Rubin Kazan will play extra-time for the final quarter-final place. Just the 33 goals on a breathtaking night of Euro action."

Full time
It was easy in the end, but Liverpool were living a tad dangerously until that second Fernando Torres goal extinguished Lille's hopes completely. The Reds were on top pretty much from start to finish, though, and they can head into Sunday's trip to Old Trafford in good heart after a convincing display in what was a tricky old tie.

2153: FULL-TIME Liverpool 3-0 Lille (agg 3-1)

2152: We are well into injury time at Anfield and the game is as good as over anyhow. So, who is your man of the night? Bobby Zamora or Fernando Torres? They've both been magnificent in my book.

Liverpool goal: Seconds after a ball into the Liverpool box just eludes Pierre-Emerick Aubam Eyang, the Reds break forward and, after Steven Gerrard's low shot is parried by Mickael Landreau, Fernando Torres is on hand to turn the loose ball into the net. That's the clincher... Rafa Benitez's men are safely through now.

2149: GOALFLASH Liverpool 3-0 (agg 3-1) Lille (Torres)

2147: Lille throw everybody forward for a corner and there is a bit of panic in the Liverpool defence when Pepe Reina comes to collect but gets nowhere near the ball. The Reds eventually clear but the French side are soon coming forward again... there are just two minutes of the 90 to play.

2145: Manchester United's England midfielder Owen Hargreaves on his return to action in the reserves tonight after an 18-month injury lay-off: "It was the first step in what has been an incredibly long ordeal. I'm very happy that I can be back with an 11 v 11 and a referee at least. It was great. I'm fit. I have been training incredibly hard, I have been doing everything I possibly could. I have seen the inside of the gym for about six hours everyday so I have had enough of it. I'd like to get back to doing football work. I will just train with the team and when the sharpness comes back and I start to feel better then I will consider playing a first-team game."

2144: That's more like it. Liverpool come forward with intent and two stinging shots from Dirk Kuyt bring two good saves from Mickael Landreau in the space of two minutes.

2143: Europa League Macca: "Anything Anderlecht can do, Hamburg seem to do better. Mladen Petric scores for the Germans with 15 minutes left and it means the hosts will need two more goals to go through. I'm not ruling it out - not on a night like this - but it's a tough ask."

From Chris1018 on Twitter: "This game feels like it may be building towards an 88th-minute heartbreak for Liverpool."

2142: Just the 10 minutes left at Anfield. If the scoreline stays the same, Liverpool will join Fulham in the last eight of the Europa League.

2140: As requested, here comes Yossi Benayoun... on for Ryan Babel.

2139: A nervy couple of minutes for Liverpool, who cannot keep hold of the ball at the moment and are also defending deep, inviting Lille to come forward. Now, I know the Reds like to attack on the break, but they could be making things tricky for themselves here...

2136: Europa League Macca: "Anderlecht are having a right old ding-dong of a go at Hamburg over in Belgium. Two goals in a matter of minutes from Lucas Biglia and Mbark Boussoufa have made it 4-2 to the hosts on the night, 5-5 on aggregate. Hamburg lead on away goals but it's tighter than tight."

From mannysanny on Twitter: "I think it's time for Liverpool to put on a little bit of Benayouuuun inspiration just to liven things up."

2134: Less than 20 minutes left for Lille to find a goal and they have upped the tempo a touch. They've just had their best chance of the second half too: Ludovic Obraniak sends over a free-kick from the left and Pierre-Emerick Aubam Eyang, on as a substitute, meets it at the back post but sees his scuffed shot spin just over.

2129: Some good news. Owen Hargreaves played 45 minutes for Manchester United reserves earlier, in his first appearance since September 2008 after a long injury lay-off. United's second string beat Burnley 2-0 and Hargreaves suffered no after-effects on his return to action.

2128: Europa League Macca: "Former Newcastle frontman Obafemi Martins has put Wolfsburg back on level pegging with Rubin Kazan, 1-1 on the night and 2-2 on aggregate. Hamburg have also levelled their second leg tie at Anderlecht, with Marcell Jansen putting them into a 5-3 aggregate lead. It's looking like a better evening for the German challenge all of a sudden."

From stewartflaherty on Twitter: "Re 2112. If it was Babel who provided the assist then what did Agger do do do? I'll get my coat!"

2125: Ah. I've just found out that Argentina legend (and their current manager of course) Diego Maradona is at Anfield tonight. I think I'm a bit behind the times...

2122: Here's a Liverpool free-kick straight from the training ground. With players running off the ball left, right and centre, Steven Gerrard dinks the ball over the Lille wall and finds Dirk Kuyt, who is unchallenged when he chests the ball down on the edge of the six-yard box... then skies his shot a mile over the bar. The offside flag was already up, but I don't think Kuyt knew that.

2119: A third goal would make things a lot more secure for Liverpool and that is exactly what they are looking for right now. Lille are under a lot of pressure and Steven Gerrard's cross from the right is heading for Fernando Torres in front of goal, until Adil Rami sticks out a leg to divert it behind for a corner.

From LewDaney on Twitter: "Torres' goals are always amazingly subtle."

2112: It was actually Ryan Babel (not Daniel Agger as I first thought!) who provided the assist for that Fernando Torres goal. There is still work to do for Liverpool here though, as an away goal would put Lille through on away goals after 90 minutes.

Liverpool goal: Seconds after a colleague says Liverpool are starting to look tense, the Reds go ahead on aggregate with the simplest of goals. Ryan Babel hoists a long ball forward and Fernando Torres breezes past Aurelien Chedjou, then clips the ball over the onrushing Mickael Landreau. An absolutely top-class finish from the Spaniard.

2108: GOALFLASH Liverpool 2-0 (agg 2-1) Lille (Torres)

2105: Lille get the second half started. No changes from either side at half-time.

2104: By the way, in response to Sakaria2 (re 2059) who asked if I love Bobby Zamora? Of course I do! Don't you!?!

2101: Europa League Macca: "A busy spell before the break as Hamburg's Jerome Boateng adds to their advantage in Anderlecht, before the hosts score twice through Romelu Lukaku and a Matias Suarez penalty. The Germans lead 4-3 on aggregate but anything can happen. It really can. It's 2-2 in Lisbon as Sporting's Polga scores direct from a free-kick that beats everyone. Atletico still ahead on away goals. In Wolfsburg it is still 1-0 to Rubin Kazan, who are 2-1 ahead on aggregate. Love life? Love the Europa."

2059: Fulham's Clint Dempsey, who scored the goal that took his side into the last eight of the Europa League on the Cottagers' amazing 5-4 aggregate win over Italian giants Juventus: "Everybody thought it was over when they went ahead but the character and heart we showed to fight back was incredible. That's the loudest I've heard the Cottage crowd in three years. If you're working hard and you believe then you always have a chance - and I believe we can win the competition."

From Sakaria2 on 606: "Chris, do you fancy Bobby Zamora? Just asking - don't get offended or anything..."

From Jez the Gooner, via text: As a Gooner, can Liverpool please put this to bed in 90 minutes as I need them to beat Manchester United on Sunday! Keep your powder dry!

Half time
So, Steven Gerrard's penalty gave Liverpool the start they wanted at Anfield but, despite a series of further chances for the Reds, Lille have held out and were very nearly level when Eden Hazard's shot was somehow kept out by Pepe Reina. All-square on aggregate, and all to play for in the second half.

2050: HALF-TIME Liverpool 1-0 Lille (agg 1-1)

2048: Less than five minutes to go until half-time at Anfield. Liverpool lead Lille 1-0 on the night and are dead-level on aggregate. I think it's fair to say this tie remains in the balance.

2047: Europa League Macca: "What a goal. Atletico's Argentina star Sergio Aguero shows the footwork and finishing that his father-in-law-in-waiting Diego Maradona would be proud of, turning the Sporting defence before slotting home without the outside of the boot. Sublime. Atletico 2-1 ahead on the night and on aggregate."

2046: Bobby Zamora would have buried this one. Dirk Kuyt does well down the right and loops over a cross to the back post, where it is met by Fernando Torres... who heads the ball back towards the opposite corner of the net, but narrowly wide. Close, but no cigar for the Spaniard.

2043: Lille have improved but Liverpool remain dangerous. Steven Gerrard sends in another corner and Daniel Agger rises (again) at the near post to meet it. This time, the ball zips off his shoulder and goes narrowly over.

2042: Europa League Macca: "Sporting have equalised on the night through the Brazilian-born Portuguese international Liedson, but Atletico remain in the box seat on away goals. Rubin Kazan have nudged themselves in front away to Wolfsburg (agg 1-2) through Alan Kasaev, while it remains Anderlecht 0-0 Hamburg (agg 1-3)."

2039: Did I say Eden Hazard had been quiet? Not any more he's not. The Belgian teenager plays a quick one-two and bursts into the box, only to see his goalbound shot hit Pepe Reina's head from point-blank range and fly over the bar. Great skill, and Liverpool are very lucky to still be ahead.

2037: Another Liverpool attack. Lucas surges forward to get within shooting distance outside the box but his low effort is easily stopped by Mickael Landreau.

2035: Steven Gerrard's corner is met at the near post by Daniel Agger, who flicks his header goalwards. The ball is held up by a crowd of players near the goal-line but, with Dirk Kuyt ready to pounce, Lille eventually clear.

2034: Fernando Torres is fouled down the right flank, just outside the box. Steven Gerrard whips the free-kick in but Torres is adjudged to have fouled a defender as he jumps for the ball. Liverpool are back on top.

From Ben in Torquay, via text: "Re 2021. Sense the class of Fuham boss Roy Hodgson in his interview. Savouring a great victory but passes on the compliments to the team and the fans. Immediately looking to the next game. Great manager.

2032: Better from Lille, who get the ball down for the first time and come forward with a neat exchange of passes. Still, Liverpool are defending well too... and we've not seen much of the French side's hero of the first leg - Eden Hazard - so far.

2029: The Lille defence make a hash of clearing a bouncing cross and the ball falls for Glen Johnson inside the box. The right-back has more time than he realises, however, and his first-time effort bounces into the arms of Mickael Landreau.

2027: Javier Mascherano's dinked ball into the box is just too strong for Ryan Babel. It's all about the home side so far.

From Peo in Wavertree, via text: "Who is that guy in the Liverpool midfield and what has he done with Lucas?"

2023: Back at Anfield, Lille are making no inroads into the home defence and, when they win possession, Liverpool continue to get the ball forward quickly. Fernando Torres is heavily involved so far... if he's half as good as Bobby Zamora then the Reds will be home and dry.

2021: Victorious Fulham boss Roy Hodgson on his side's incredible 4-1 win over Juventus that puts the Cottagers into the Europa League quarter-finals with a 5-4 aggregate victory: "It was a fantastic team performance. Our task first off was to win the game. When Bobby Zamora equalised at 1-1, I thought we could still do something if we continued to play well and in the second half we did. The crowd were fantastic and many will remember this night for a long time to come. But we have an important game Sunday and we'll enjoy this and then move on."

2019: Another sniff for Fernando Torres. Javier Mascherano's diagonal ball finds the Spaniard inside the box but his touch is a fraction too heavy and Lille keeper Mickael Landreau comes out to collect it.

2017: Europa League Macca: "Could this be the most exciting night in the long and proud history of the Europa League? I just thought I'd ask. Anyway, Atletico Madrid are in front away to Sporting (agg 0-1). Sergio Aguero poking them in front after just over 150 seconds, from a cross by ex-Sporting favourite Simao."

2016: Phew. Almost a second for Liverpool. A slaloming run by Fernando Torres takes him into the box as he cuts in from the right flank, but his shot is deflected just wide of the near post. That would have been some goal.

Liverpool goal: Um, what was that GavJB? A weaving run by Lucas sees him dance into the area before going to ground when Adil Rami sticks out a leg. Referee Nicola Rizzoli points to the spot, and Steven Gerrard steps up to confidently fire it home to level the tie on aggregate after just nine minutes.

2013: GOALFLASH Liverpool 1-0 (agg 1-1) Lille (Gerrard pen)

2013: PENALTY to Liverpool

From GavJB on Twitter: "Liverpool v Lille been playing for five minutes and no goals yet, not as exciting as Fulham already."

2011: Lille come forward for the first time, and Lucas elects to nod a dangerous cross over his own crossbar. The French side enjoy a decent spell of pressure before, after two corners in quick succession, Liverpool clear their lines.

2009: Liverpool's first effort on goal sees Ryan Babel skip forward to the edge of the area after referee Nicola Rizzoli plays a good advantage... but the Dutchman's shot is a poor one, and the ball dribbles well wide.

2008: The home fans are still singing, and the travelling Lille supporters respond with some impressive whistling. On the pitch? It's a cagey start, but Liverpool have had the better possession so far.

From jgooderson on Twitter: "If Lille sit back and defend Liverpool will break them down, it's not safe for them at Anfield, they need to grab a goal."

2005: Got your breath back yet? Good. Liverpool have just kicked off at Anfield.

2002: Europa League Macca: "A quite stunning result at Craven Cottage. A fair smattering of drama elsewhere as well as Benfica score in the dying stages of their tie at Marseille. Brazilian Alan Kardec with the winning goal and Marseille's Hatem Ben Arfa is sent off as the French side exit the Europa League. Valencia held on in Bremen, where it ended 4-4 (agg 5-5) with David Villa grabbing a hat-trick and the Spaniards going through on away goals. Standard Liege beat Panathinaikos 1-0 (agg 4-1) in the other game."

From brasseye on Twitter: "Watch as Liverpool grind out a soulless 0-0 and crash out..."

2000: A rousing chorus of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' resonates around Anfield before kick-off. We've seen quite a few famous nights of European football there in the past few years... and Liverpool need another big performance if they are to join Fulham in the last eight.

From stripamnesty on Twitter: "Can Liverpool show even half the determination and skill that Fulham just did?"

1957: Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez on his side's approach to their Europa League tie with Lille: "They will play counter-attack. It depends on us. We will push from the start and the fans will get behind us."

From evanpritchard on Twitter: "Re 1743. Is Joe Regan still thinking that Juve are too classy for Fulham?"

1955: Er, follow that, Liverpool...

Champagne moment
1953: The best night in Fulham's history? Must be close... Sensational scenes at Craven Cottage, where the Fulham players are on a deserved lap of honour, and most of them have thrown their shirts into the crowd. Juventus are out, and Fulham are through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League after an unbelievable night of football.

1951: FULL-TIME Fulham 4-1 Juventus (agg 5-4)

1949: About a minute of injury time left at Craven Cottage. Felipe Melo is the latest Juventus player to kick out in anger, taking a swipe at Bobby Zamora... this time he gets away with it.

Red card
Juventus are down to nine men now. Jonathan Zebina kicks out in frustration at Damien Duff on the touchline, and is rightly given his marching orders.

1948: RED CARD Juventus's Jonathan Zebina

1947: We are into the last minute of the 90 at Craven Cottage, where Fulham are on the brink of knocking out Juventus. As you might expect, the Cottagers are running down the clock.

1946: Europa League Macca: "Things have livened up in Marseille, where the hosts took the lead through Mamadou Niang before Benfica answered in super quick fashion through Uruguayan Maxi Pereira to make it 1-1 (agg 2-2). It'll be extra-time if it stays like that. Meanwhile, the madness continues in Bremen. Claudio Pizarro, the tournament's top scorer, has made it 4-4 (agg 5-5). The hosts need one more in the last five minutes."

1945: Fulham aren't finished yet, mind. Bobby Zamora shrugs off a couple of defenders before firing in a shot that is well saved by Antonio Chimenti. That would have capped an incredible night in west London.

1943: A couple of changes to tell you about. Bjorn Helge Riise is on for Fulham, replacing Zoltan Gera who has been superb tonight. Juve have brought Alessandro Del Piero on for Fabio Grosso.

Fulham goal: Stunning, just stunning. With the Juve defence backing off on the edge of the area, Clint Dempsey lets fly with an exquisite chip that leaves Antonio Chimenti standing as it soars into the top corner of the net. Fulham lead on aggregate, with five minutes to go. You could not make this up.

1940: GOALFLASH Fulham 4-1 (agg 5-4) Juventus (Dempsey)

1938: Zoltan Gera is on a hat-trick tonight and the Hungarian has just gone mighty close to bagging his treble. He makes space on the edge of the area with some nifty footwork then fires in a swerving shot that is pushed behind by Juve keeper Antonio Chimenti. I don't think I've seen him catch the ball tonight.

1937: A first sight of goal for Fulham substitute Clint Dempsey, who meets a Simon Davies cross from the right with a bouncing header that is pushed away by Antonio Chimenti. The home side are still doing all the attacking but, unless either side scores in the next 10 minutes, we are heading for extra-time.

1934: Not for the first time tonight, a series of crosses into the Juve area cause havoc in the Italian side's defence. But a decent spell of Fulham pressure ends when Zoltan Gera curls a shot over the bar from the edge of the area and the visitors breathe again. We have got 15 minutes left of normal time to play of what has been a pulsating tie.

From Phil in Putney, via text: "I thought all was lost after the first leg so decided not to go to the Cottage tonight... I may never regret anything more in my life."

1930: Here's a first change for Fulham. Clint Dempsey, who has been warming up on an exercise bike on the touchline since the break, is on for Stephen Kelly.

1928: That's more like it. Two chances for Fulham in quick succession. Simon Davies has a snap-shot pushed away by Antonio Chimenti before Bobby Zamora, at full stretch, is unable to reach Damien Duff's deep cross.

1926: Europa League Macca: It's 3-3 in Bremen as Marko Marin's shot is deflected past Cesar after a well worked free-kick. Game on in a big way and the Valencia defence are all at sea. As it stands they're going through, but only a fool would bet against another goal at the Weserstadion. Only a fool indeed as the Spaniards launch a counter-attack and David Villa slams one home to complete his hat-trick. What a player, what a game. It's 3-4 (agg 4-5) and Bremen need two goals again."

1925: For the first time tonight, there's a lull in the action. Things have got a bit bogged down in midfield and neither side is making much progress forward. For now, anyway...

1924: TEAM NEWS Liverpool v Lille
Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani has failed to shake off his virus so Lucas Leiva comes back to partner Javier Mascherano in the middle. Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel all start, but Yossi Benayoun is on the bench. Lille are without strike pair Gervinho and Tulio De Melo so Pierre-Alain Frau plays up front, while Eden Hazard, who scored the winner in the first leg, will be gunning for more goals.

1921: Just over an hour gone at Craven Cottage, where Fulham lead 3-1 and are level at 4-4 on aggregate with 10-man Juventus. As it stands, we are heading for extra-time but Fulham are playing so well that they will fancy themselves to go on and get a winner.

1920: Another Fulham penalty? Not this time. Bobby Zamora's chip finds Zoltan Gera running through but he is caught in a sandwich of two Juventus defenders and goes to ground on the edge of the area. Referee Bjorn Kuipers waves play on, and Damien Duff blazes over. Chance gone.

1918: Europa League Macca: "Give Bremen credit, they're not giving this one up without a fight. It's now 2-3 on the night and 3-4 on aggregate after a Torsten Frings penalty that beats Valencia keeper Cesar for power if not direction."

From Ed in Milan, via text: "Watching Fulham v Juve on Italian TV. Their pundits reckon Zamora fouled Cannavaro for the first Fulham goal and are outraged by the red card. As a British Inter fan I am loving this for multiple reasons!"

1915: A lovely long diagonal ball by Diego finds David Trezeguet on the edge of the area but he doesn't get hold of his volley, which rolls into Mark Schwarzer's arms. That's Juventus's first attack for quite a while.

1913: TEAMS Liverpool v Lille
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Kuyt, Mascherano, Lucas, Babel, Gerrard, Torres. Subs: Cavalieri, Benayoun, Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Degen, El Zhar, Kelly.
Lille: Landreau, Beria, Chedjou, Rami, Emerson, Balmont, Mavuba, Cabaye, Hazard, Frau, Obraniak. Subs: Butelle, Vandam, Aubameyang, Toure, Dumont, Souare, Souquet.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Bologna)

1912: Another change for Juventus. Paolo de Ceglie is on for Mauro Camoranesi. The Italian side remain on the backfoot.

1910: We are still waiting on line-ups from Anfield tonight, but one player who won't be featuring for Liverpool against Lille is Albert Riera. Reports are coming in that the Spanish winger has been suspended by his club for his outburst about Rafa Benitez.

Fulham goal: One word: Wow. Zoltan Gera's backheel releases Damien Duff down the right and his cross hits Diego on the hand. He didn't mean it, but definitely handball. Referee Bjorn Kuipers points to the spot and Gera steps up to drill it into the left-hand corner of the net. We are level on aggregate at 4-4. Game on.

1905: GOALFLASH Fulham 3-1 (agg 4-4) Juventus (Gera)

1904: PENALTY to Fulham

1902: Hold on to your hats... Fulham have just got us back under way.

From the_real_machu on Twitter: "This game has made me sit up, if Zamora scores another, Capello might be forced to do the same. Come on Fulham!"

1855: Europa League Macca: "It is half-time in the game between Standard Liege and Panathinaikos and the Greeks' Europa League hopes are looking increasingly unlikely. Dieudonne Mbokani has scored for the hosts and they now lead 4-1 on aggregate. In Marseille it remains goalless and still all to play for in their tie with Benfica. 1-1 on aggregate."

From Gashead in Wales, via text: "If Fabio Capello can't see how good Bobby Zamora is, he should get to the nearest Specsavers."

1850: Europa League Macca: "The crowd are right into it in Bremen, but they are silenced when Valencia get a third goal. Smart work from David Silva on the left before picking out David Villa. He takes a touch before diverting home instinctively on the stroke of half-time and that has given the Germans a right uphill task now. Bremen 1-3 Valencia (agg 2-4)."

From trickychurchill on Twitter: "Well, Fulham are outplaying one of the best Italian teams of all time. Odd that it's being said about Fulham, not Chelsea."

Half time
When David Trezeguet put Juventus ahead after two minutes, it appeared the Fulham fairytale was over. Not a chance. Goals from Bobby Zamora and Zoltan Gera, either side of Fabio Cannavaro's red card have given the Cottagers a glimpse of what would be a stunning victory. They still trail 4-3 on aggregate but dominated the latter stages of the first half and lead 2-1 on the night.

1845: HALF-TIME Fulham 2-1 (agg 3-4) Juventus

1844: Juventus cannot cope with Bobby Zamora. That is a sentence I thought I would never type. He has been unstoppable tonight, mind. Less than two minutes to go to half-time and the Italian giants are hanging on.

From Arise Sir William Prunier on 606: "What a game! Juventus are being played off the park by Fulham at the moment. Great stuff. Come on Fulham!"

Fulham goal: It's been coming. Bobby Zamora's flick frees Simon Davies, who sends over a low cross for Zoltan Gera to turn the ball home from close range. Ten-man Juventus are rocking... and so is Craven Cottage. Another goal would put Fulham level on aggregate.

1839: GOALFLASH Fulham 2-1 (agg 3-4) Juventus

Someone has struck the woodwork
1839: More woodwork by Fulham. Dickson Etuhu's header hits the post from Simon Davies' corner.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1837: David Trezeguet fouls Damien Duff on the right flank and Simon Davies takes the resulting free-kick. Everybody is in the area expecting a cross but the Welshman goes for goal and hits the bar at the back post... with the rebound bouncing off Bobby Zamora before being cleared.

1836: No surprise that Juve have sat back a whole lot more since losing Cannavaro. Fulham are still going for it, though, and it takes a perfectly-timed challenge by Mauro Camoranesi to stop Damien Duff right on the edge of the area.

1835: Europa League Macca: "It's a properly lively affair at the Weserstadion as well, where Hugo Almeida is left free as a bird in the area to grab one back for Werder Bremen. It's still Valencia's to lose as they hold a 3-2 lead on aggregate. Still no goals from the other two 1800 GMT kick-offs. Standard Liege lead Panathinaikos 3-1 from the first leg and it is tidily poised at 1-1 between Marseille and Benfica."

From GavJB on Twitter: "It probably wasn't deserving of a straight red, but I think it makes up for the ref missing the wrestling match earlier."

1830: Juve have made a change too. One of their strikers, Antonio Candreva, is off and a defender, Zdenek Gryger, is on. Half-an-hour in, and Fulham are right in this tie.

1829: From the resulting free-kick, Bobby Zamora curls the ball towards the top corner but it is clawed away by Antonio Chimenti, who looks quite sprightly for a 39-year-old.

Red card
Cannavaro red card: Hmmm, a bit harsh this one. Bobby Zamora slips Zoltan Gera clear but he collides with Fabio Cannavaro and goes to ground. I'm pretty sure Cannavaro meant it but I'm not sure he was the last man. Either way, Juve are down to 10 men.

1825: RED CARD Juventus's Fabio Cannavaro

1823: Europa League Macca: "Things just got a good deal harder for Bremen as Juan Mata beats a static defence to run onto a David Silva chipped pass and calmly slots past Tim Wiese. The Germans, who have been in fine form at home in this competition, now need three goals."

From navyou111 on Twitter: "Apart from Wayne Rooney, Bobby Zamora has been one of the best English forwards this season. He deserves to be at the World Cup."

1819: Simon Davies sends across a corner from the right and, after the sort of grappling in the area that wouldn't go amiss in WWE, Mauro Camoranesi gives Brede Hangeland the slightest of shoves at the worst possible moment and causes him to head over the bar at the far post. Referee Bjorn Kuipers chooses to ignore all of the above.

1818: Fulham are very much on top at the moment and the pressure is mounting with every cross into the area.

1816: Another Fulham attack. Stephen Kelly's deep cross finds Zoltan Gera at the back stick and his header across goal would find Bobby Zamora if not for a desperate challenge by Fabio Cannavaro. Zamora was offside anyway but Cannavaro had both hands around the Fulham striker when he headed clear... these Italian defenders are very hands on, aren't they?

1814: Bobby Zamora is still keeping the Juventus defence on their toes, finding space to run on to Chris Baird's searching ball over the top... but there is just too much on it and it runs out of play. Unlucky.

1811: Er, it's been an eventful first 10 minutes or so, hasn't it? Juventus almost retake the lead with their next attack when Diego's rasping shot from the edge of the area is only parried by Mark Schwarzer but David Trezeguet cannot reach the rebound.

Fulham goal: Right then, who wrote Fulham off? Not me. Paul Konchesky bends in a cross from the left and Bobby Zamora holds off Fabio Cannavaro, chests the ball down and fires home an absolutely blinding goal. Are you watching Fabio Capello? He is you know...

1809: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-1 (agg 2-4) Juventus (Zamora)

1807: Europa League Macca: "An equally bad start for Werder Bremen at home to Valencia. The Spaniards go 1-0 ahead on the night and 2-1 up on aggregate after a very tidy finish from Spanish star David Villa, who slotted home with his left foot from a tight-ish angle."

1806: Better by Fulham. Damien Duff loops over a cross from the right and it is just too high for Simon Davies, arriving late at the far post. That's got the home fans going again a bit, at least.

1805: The Juventus fans are the only ones making any noise at the moment. Fulham look a bit shell-shocked... they need to settle down, sharpish.

Juventus goal: The worst possible start for Fulham. Juventus pass it around neatly from the off and when Hasan Salihamidzic's cross is not cleared, the loose ball is fired past Mark Schwarzer by David Trezeguet. Poor defending, again.

1802: GOALFLASH Fulham 0-1 (agg 1-4) Juventus (Trezeguet)

1800: Here we go. England coach Fabio Capello is in the stands as Juventus get us under way.

1759: The Fuham and Juventus players are out on the pitch, and have just finished shaking hands. Kick-off is just seconds away...

1757: It looks like a cracking atmosphere at Craven Cottage this evening, which can only help Fulham. They need to score at least two goals tonight to progress but just as important will be how well the Cottagers defend. That was what let Roy Hodgson's side down in Turin last week, so much improvement needed at the back.

From johnharrold on Twitter: "Re 1743. How about this... Liverpool to win tonight 3-1 and 1-0 on Sunday. Keep the belief or am I just mental?"

From Dan Scott, via text: "Who would have thought at the start of the season that Fulham would be in Europe longer than Chelsea.... well, by a couple of days. Come on Fulham!"

1747: Speaking of Manchester United, their Anglo-Welsh Canadian midfielder Owen Hargreaves will make his first appearance since September 2008 when he gets a run out for their reserves against Burnley tonight after a long-term knee injury. I'm sure I speak for you all when I wish him the best of luck.

1743: Here's a quick question for Liverpool fans. Which game is more important... tonight's tie v Lille from a silverware point of view, or Sunday's trip to Old Trafford with that fourth-place in the Premier League up for grabs (not to mention the chance to put a spanner in the works of Manchester United's title bid)?

From Joe Regan, via text: "Fulham don't stand a chance. Roy Hodgson is a great manager, but Juventus are just too classy."

1739: Fulham striker Bobby Zamora on his battle with Juventus's veteran World Cup-winning defender Fabio Cannavaro: "I thought I did well in the first leg against him. I held it up well and one thing I noticed is that he didn't like to be run down the channels. He's getting a bit older now; he wants to fight, pull and push you, so I'm sure I'll try to turn and push him the other way."

1736: TEAM NEWS Fulham v Juventus
Brede Hangeland has shaken off a chest injury to retain his place in the heart of the Fulham defence. The Cottagers also recall their goalscorer from the first leg, Dickson Etuhu, into midfield in place of Danny Murphy, who is suspended. Damien Duff starts in place of Clint Dempsey, whilst Nicky Shorey is replaced at left-back by Paul Konchesky. Juventus are without their first choice and reserve keepers, Gianluigi Buffon and Alex Manninger, due to injury, so 39-year-old Antonio Chimenti starts in goal. Juve make six changes from the side which threw away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Siena at the weekend, with defenders Jonathan Zebina, Hasan Salihamidzic and Fabio Grosso, and midfielders Mauro Camoranesi, Mohamed Sissoko and Diego all returning to the side. Alessandro Del Piero is on the bench.

1734: The good news for Fulham fans is that their home record in Europe this season has been formidable... unbeaten in six matches, winning five of them. Even so, it's going to take something a bit special from Bobby Zamora & co tonight.

From KopOfTheLeague on 606: "RE 1720. Don't mind you saying it's our last shot at silverware, as long as in the FA Cup semi finals, you say it's Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Tottenham/Fulham's last chance as well."

1728: TEAMS Fulham v Juventus
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Duff, Baird, Etuhu, Davies, Gera, Zamora. Subs: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Riise, Dempsey, Smalling, Dikgacoi, Marsh-Brown.
Juventus: Chimenti, Salihamidzic, Zebina, Cannavaro, Grosso, Camoranesi, Felipe Melo, Sissoko, Diego, Candreva, Trezeguet. Subs: Pinsoglio, Iaquinta, Del Piero, Poulsen, Grygera, De Ceglie, Marrone.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Oldenzaal)

1725: Fulham are first up tonight... kicking off at Craven Cottage at the ridiculously early time of 1800 GMT. I know early kick-offs are a common occurrence abroad but doesn't seem right over here, does it? I mean, look outside. It's not even dark yet...

1720: Fulham are not the only English club looking to overturn a first-leg deficit tonight though. Liverpool's last hope of winning any silverware this season (I bet Reds fans are sick of hearing that) rests on them turning around the 1-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Lille in France last week. Definitely doable, that one...

1715: Evening all. If it seems a long time ago when Fulham kicked off their Europa League campaign, that's because it was. On 30 July 2009, on a sunny day (probably) in Lithuania, the Cottagers beat FK Vetra 3-0. Can the Fulham fairy-tale continue into the last eight? They have to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Juventus to progress, but I wouldn't bet against them, would you?

Print Sponsor

Europa League results

18 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

  • Anderlecht4-3Hamburg
    FT (agg 5-6)
  • Fulham4-1JuventusFT (agg 5-4)
  • Liverpool3-0LilleFT (agg 3-1)
  • Marseille1-2Benfica
    FT (agg 2-3)
  • Sporting2-2Atletico Madrid
    FT (agg 2-2) Atletico Madrid win on Away Goals Rule
  • Standard Liege1-0Panathinaikos
    FT (agg 4-1)
  • Werder Bremen4-4Valencia
    FT (agg 5-5)
  • Wolfsburg2-1Rubin Kazan
    FT (agg 3-2) After Extra Time

see also
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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