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Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wednesday football as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

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By Phil Dawkes


2233: And that is that for this evening's live text commentary. It has been a night of unexpected high drama. A goalkeeping hero has emerged and villains created around him. Stoke are through, Fulham aren't and Macclesfield are still in the Cup. Join Saj Chowdhury tomorrow for more Europa League action. The End.

2228: In amongst all this, I've also forgaotten to say congratulations to Macclesfield, who advance to the FA Cup third round to face Bolton, and commiserations to Chelmsford, whose impressive run ends. I can also only wish Macclesfield good luck with their investigation to find the phantom ball-lobbers. I seem to remember a similar episode of Quincy.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Anon, via text: "If Fulham and Jol do not spark, they're very much in danger of being relegated, losing there top players, and not returning to the premier league for a very long time. Simple. Time to sharpen up."

Besiktas 3-1 Stoke
Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Besiktas were impressed and deserved to win by at least two goals. Stoke will not lose much sleep over this loss. They are through and will be at their strongest to face undoubtedly their stiffest European test in the next round."

Full time
FULL-TIME Fulham 2-2 Odense
Graham Chase reports: "For the opening hour, this surprise result never looked on the cards and with a two-goal advantage, Fulham looked to be coasting into the knock-out phase. Hans Henrik Andreason's free kick set nerves on edge but Odense created little else until Djiby Fall headed in from close range with the last kick of the match."

2223: Let's not forget, though, that in amongst all the doom and gloom from Craven Cottage, Stoke progressed to the last 32 earlier, despite defeat at Besiktas. So, in conclusion, Fulham out, bad, Stoke through, good.

Twitter
Jukebox_Jack on Twitter: "Absolutely gutted for Fulham but that's the danger of thinking you have a game won. Fair play to Odense, they wanted it more!!"

Twitter
ross1910 on Twitter: "Fulham players should be ashamed. They let there manager, fans and most importantly Neil Etheridge down!!"

2221: You have to wonder what further pressure this might put on Fulham boss Martin Jol? Could this result have propelled him past his peers at Bolton and Blackburn and straight to the top of the sack list? I sense that might be a tad premature, but you never know, stranger things have happened. Like that young goalkeeper who apparently signed for the A-team.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Anon, via text: "Jol is a shadow of his former self at Spurs... Poor subs and tactics. Players don't seem motivated under him... Late goals every match."

EUROPA LEAGUE REVIEW: Well, what an extraordinary climax to the evening's Europa League action. At the death Wisla Krakow's superb efforts in Poland see them defeat Group K winners FC Twente, leapfrog shellshocked Fulham and sneak through. Romanian outfit Steaua Bucharest grab the second spot in Group J after overcoming AEK Larnaca 3-1 at home. Maccabi Haifa will be disappointed with this evening's result; the Israeli side shipped three at home to German big-hitters Schalke and are unceremoniously bundled out of the competition.

2216: What else will come out in the wash? The free-kick being moved? Zamora and Jol? All-in-all what looked like being a fine evening for Fulham has turned into a cruel crash at the Cottage.

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From Anon, via text: "I do not care what tactical decision were made, what the relationship Jol has with Zamora is like, but over the last few months this team has lost what made it special - spirit, fight and togetherness and surely only one man can be at fault. How un-inspirational can a team talk be to throw away a vital 2-0 lead at HOME to Odense. Officially chosen my side...Jol out."

2212: I stand corrected. Henrik Clausen you were right. Eric Djemba-Djemba was clearly the right call.

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From Anon, via text: "Tactical suicide! Such naivety all round, no cutting edge. No wonder Zamora wants out. Disappointment"

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From Rob in Rotherham, via text: "Damien duff needs to hang his head in shame. Standing offside waving his hands like a mardy child because he didn't get a pass. If he'd been available to pass to then the ball would never have gone back up the other end."

Fulham manager Martin Jol: "It was the last cross of the match. Two of my players got drawn in, instead of one going and trying to stop the cross. It's very disappointing. Odense scored a goal from a free-kick when our wall wasn't in the right position. We couldn't get forward and play with the intensity which we did in the first half. We dropped off and tried to protect our lead, but we couldn't keep control. Being 2-0 up, with everything going well, to give two goals away is very disappointing."

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From Anon via text: "Fulham. Ouch..."

2202: In truth, they've only got themselves to blame. They gave the ball away in the Odense half prior to the goal and then too many of them either didn't bust a gut to get back or switched off at the vital moments. Even Neil Etheridge was powerless to do anything.

2201: I don't think I'm over-stressing the situation to say that Fulham were in no danger. The clock was ticking down with little incident and then bang, they're out. Wisla Krakow have beaten Twente 2-1 to seal it.

FA Cup winner with Everton in 1995, Matt Jackson, at Moss Rose for BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Chelmsford will be slightly disappointed. They didn't create many chances. It'll be a long trip back from them and their supporters, and they will feel frustrated."

FA CUP FULL-TIME: Macclesfield 1-0 Chelmsford

2158: It was literally the last kick. That's full-time. Craven Cottage is in shock. Utter shock.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Odense goal: Absolutely. And. Utterly. Incredible! How? Seriously, how has this just happened? Well, I'll tell you. Odense were gone. It was over. And then in a flash they strike. Espen Ruud swings over a hopeful cross from the right and Djilby Fall steals in to head Fulham out of the Europa League!

2155: GOALFLASH Fulham 2-2 Odense (Djilby Fall)

2154: Injury time. We're in it. Odense haven't really stepped up since their goal. Fulham looking good for qualification.

2152: Two minutes to go. Bobby Zamora leaves the game with Orlando Sa on. Zamora passes straight past Martin Jol and sits down. Oooooo... actually no, it means nothing. Stop trying to stir things. Honestly, you people.

2150: Say what you want about Neil Etheridge (and many of you have this evening), he has been a supremely calm presence in the Fulham goal. He comes out to claim a cross with aplomb and minutes are wasted by an injury to the Odense man he felled in doing so.

2149: If you were looking to salvage a point from a game which player would you call on to save you? If you are Odense manager Henrik Clausen, that man is Eric Djemba-Djemba, who has come on. Of all the people in England right now, he might be the only one to have made that choice.

2147: The one thing working in Fulham's favour here is that Odense don't look too dangerous. It is purely the nervousness of the situation.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: It's quite feasible that the way the groups lie at present is the way it will finish tonight. That's not to say there aren't mini-dramas aplenty. In the battle of the top two teams in Group L, Anderlecht lead Lokomotiv Moscow in a 4-2 thriller. In Fulham's group, Group K, Wisla Krakow are ahead against high-flying FC Twente, in potentially the biggest upset of the night. That result, should it stay the same, piles the pressure back on Fulham as we enter the last 10 minutes of the evening.

Twitter
BBC football commentator Nigel Adderley on Twitter: "Fulham have gone to pieces since Odense's goal, making a moderate team look dangerous."

2144: We're into the last 10 minutes. Every one of those is going to feel like having to watch Titanic. Twice.

2141: Surely Fulham can't throw this away now. They were so comfortable at half-time, so in control. And now they look very, very nervous about every pass.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Nick at the Macc game, via text: "Football. Multi ball update. The ball boys tried to take the balls home with them however the stewards confiscated them for I quote 'police investigation and finger prints'"

2139: To remind you, if Odense score again here it would leave Fulham facing elimination from the Europa League. Wisla are still winning 2-1 against Twente to keep the pressure on the Cottagers. Don't panic, though, as it stands they're going through.

2138: Boos resonating round Craven Cottage from the home fans at their own team. A free-kick in the Odense half is played back into the Fulham half. Clearly a sign that the home side are nervous about their fragile position.

FA CUP LATEST: Macclesfield's George Donnelly breaks on the left and is picked out with a long ball. The striker runs in on goal but his shot is fired into the side-netting. Chelmsford still trail 1-0.

Twitter
James Fotheringham on Twitter: "5 officials and not 1 spotted Andreasen move the ball forward a yard. Made the difference."

2133: Fulham do look more nervous now. They are not retaining possession as well as before and it prompts Martin Jol into a change, with Damien Duff replacing Clint Dempsey.

FA CUP LATEST: Chelmsford are finding it hard to get into the Macclesfield final third never mind manage a shot on goal. They did manage one effort though, when journeyman Cliff Akurang flicked his header towards goal but straight into the arms of Jose Veiga.

2130: Whoa! Odense nearly really upset the apple cart then, barely a minute after getting a goal back. Hans Henrik Andreason is denied by Neil Etheridge, having an effort turned wide after neat work from Rasmus Falk. Fulham need to be very careful here.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Odense goal: It certainly can make things interesting! Hans Henrik Andreasen cheekily replaces the ball a yard further forward before finding a gap superbly in the Fulham wall with a shot that nestles in the net. We have a game on now.

2126: GOALFLASH Fulham 2-1 Odense (Hans Henrik Andreasen)

2125: This could make things very interesting. Odense have a free-kick and it is well-placed...

2123: Never mind. It was on target, but not directed well enough to beat Stefan Wessels by Chris Baird. It remains a solid 2-0 to Fulham.

2121: Oh, here we go. Free-kick in a shooting position for Fulham.

2120: You may be able to tell there's not a lot happening. Which in many ways is very good for Fulham. Not so good for us viewers for the next 30 minutes, though.

2119: Odense win a throw-in.

2118: Fulham win a throw-in.

2116: The game has gone incredibly flat at the Cottage. Odense are trying to force their way in, but are getting nowhere. Fulham have a vice-like grip on the encounter and they are not letting go.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Richard, via text: "Just wondered if we could salute the memory of Ray Taylor, Newport supporter, program guru, debater of midfield tactics, and an original '3 Amigos' of the Newport county fans radio service. Passed today, RIP Ray."

FA CUP LATEST: Macclesfield's Tony Diagne prods his shot a yard wide of the Chelmsford left-hand upright. It remains 1-0 to Macclesfield.

2112: Apologies. Of course there are already two English teams in the Europa League, from the very city I am sat in. Shouldn't really have made that mistake. I won't make it home alive!

2110: News from Poland, and Wisla Krakow have re-taken the lead against Twente. It doesn't have any real meaning, though, unless Odense can muster the most unimaginable of comebacks at the Cottage.

2109: Fulham straight out of the blocks and it is the impressive Moussa Dembele who drives to the Odense goal before curling a shot low into the diving grasp of Stefan Wessels.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Alex, via text: "Zamora loves the club but is struggling to motivate himself with Jol as manager. He needs to buck his ideas up a bit and start channeling his frustration into performances."

2107: The second half is under way at the Cottage.

2105: The second half is minutes away. It is likely that we're looking at a 45 minute countdown until the Europa League has two of its 32 knock-out spots populated by English sides.

Twitter
Nick Mytton on Twitter: "Again! A whole load of balls came over the stand at a Macclesfield game several years ago! It was the best bit about the game!"

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: Lukasz Gargula's 12th minute strike for Wisla Krakow briefly put his team ahead of Fulham in Group K, but Luuk de Jong's equaliser for FC Twente, combined with Fulham leading against Odense, has seen the Polish side drop down to third. AEK Athens lead against Sturm Graz in Group L. AEK Larnaca, Steaua Bucharest and Maccabi Haifa all have six points in Group J, though the Israeli side has a far superior goal difference.

2100: As mentioned earlier, there has been much chat about Bobby Zamora's relationship with Martin Jol in the press. It is difficult to tell if he is applying himself properly here or not because in general the Fulham team have not needed to be hugely energetic. Critics will no doubt continue to speculate that he is desperate to move.

2058: I believe if Fulham wanted to they could run up a big score here. Odense have been limp, while Fulham have scored twice without playing to their best.

BBC Radio 5 Live
FA Cup winner with Everton in 1995, Matt Jackson, at Moss Rose for BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "Macclesfield deserve their lead. They haven't had to be great, but they've been effective."

Twitter
Chris Delaney on Twitter: "Kerim Frei is a serious talent, a lot of the Premier League will take notice after tonight."

FA CUP LATEST: Half-time - Macclesfield 1-0 Chelmsford

Half time
HALF-TIME Fulham 2-0 Odense
Graham Chase's HT snapshot:
"They did not make the best of starts and Wisla's early goal against Twente must have given them some nerves. But Fulham were patient enough and already appeared to have got the job done thanks to a low finish from Clint Dempsey and another well-worked goal from the impressive youngster Kerim Frei. Twente are currently holding Wisla, who trail the Cottagers by a point, 1-1 at half time, making Fulham's position even more comfortable."

2051: That is half time at Craven Cottage. A satisfying 45 minutes for Fulham. They lead 2-0 and it has been a stroll.

FA CUP LATEST: The action stops after footballs and tennis balls land on the pitch from outside Moss Rose stadium. Someone is having fun and referee Darren Drysdale sees the funny side.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Cal in Chester, via text: "Neil etheridge's wiki page is great reading, refresh every now and again for great new facts about him, did you know he is currently over 10ft tall and won the 1997 champs league and is a pop idol winner."

2047: And it gets even better for Fulham. A Twente equaliser against Wisla Krakow has strengthened their position in Group K. We're looking at two out of two tonight for the last 32.

2045: This is turning into a very comfortable night for Fulham. They have been put in little danger since taking the lead and then doubling it. Odense don't look to have anything to hurt the Cottagers either.

2044: Neil Etheridge claims superbly from a Odense cross. The Fulham fans applaud like mad. Little do they know that such feats are nothing to him. Nothing!

Twitter
Ali Hollway on Twitter: "Dempsey is the most underrated player on the planet. Versatile, pace, skills and not the ego to go with it. A big club beckons!"

2039: Apologies to Chelmsford fans. Twas an unintentional slip of mine. I apologise. This has now been rectified and you are back in the Cup.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Fulham goal: Now Fulham are rocking. It's a second and it's primarily the work of Moussa Dembele, who wins the ball cuts inside and plays a superb pass to feed in Kerim Frei, who finishes superbly. Fulham totally in control.

2032: GOALFLASH Fulham 2-0 Odense (Kerim Frei)

BBC Radio 5 live
FA Cup winner with Everton in 1995, Matt Jackson, at Moss Rose for BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "It was a fantastic ball that started the play. It's a very quick surface, and it completely bypassed the full-back. But Carl Tremarco was up with the ball and did well to shoot across the keeper."

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Macclesfield goal:Carl Tremarco is fed the ball on the left before running into the area and sliding his shot past goalkeeper Stuart Searle.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Fulham goal: Neil Etheridge beats the entire Odense team, twice, before curling an unstoppable shot.... only kidding. Kerim Frei makes a superb run down the left and crosses for Bobby Zamora, who tees up Clint Dempsey to finish past Stefan Wessels. Fulham are back in the last 32.

2032: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-0 Odense (Clint Dempsey)

2031: GOALFLASH Macclesfield 1-0 Chelmsford (Carl Tremarco)

2030: Fulham are denied on the line by Odense. Clint Dempsey goes through and chips the ball over the advancing Stefan Wessels only for the back-tracking Espen Ruud to hack away. Slow game, but Fulham have had the best of it. Still 0-0.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: The 2005 GMT games are underway and it's all about bragging rights in Group L. Anderlecht are going through with a very positive goal difference, but they host second-placed Lokomotiv Moscow knowing that a draw or better means they will win the group outright. It's much tighter in Group J where Bundesliga outfit Schalke are through but any of the three others could make it. In Group K, top-of-the-tree FC Twente could ensure Fulham's progress if they beat third-placed Wisla Krakow, but a win for the Polish team places the west Londoners in a precarious position.

2026: I wish there was more going in the game I could tell you about. But at present there isn't... other than Neil Etheridge bending the very fabric of space and time with his mind.

Twitter
H.T George on Twitter: "Is it bad that finding how many caps he has is more interesting than the game?"

2023: Neil Etheridge: a keeper so good he stretches the very boundaries of reality.

Twitter
Glen Thorpe on Twitter: "Now it says Etheridge has made infinity appearances..."

2021: So close for Fulham. Brede Hangeland's header from a Kerim Frei corner is goalbound, despite keeper Stefan Wessels' best efforts, until Bashkim Kadril clears literally off the line. Hats off to the assistant, who was correctly unmoved.

2019: It is still very early days, obviously, but as it stands Fulham are going out because Wisla Krakow have just taken the lead against Twente.

2019: Fulham are starting to take a grip now. A long ball is brought down by Bobby Zamora before a tackle diverts the ball to Kerim Frei, whose shot is well over the bar. They're looking a threat, though.

2017: Such is the power that we yield that Neil Etheridge, who had yet to play for Fulham prior to tonight, is now the most capped international footballer in history. Who says Wikipedia is not a trusted research tool?

Twitter
Niall Barry on Twitter: "On Wiki it says that Neil Etheridge has 328 caps for the Philippines..."

2015: First chance to Fulham. Chris Baird with a snap shot on the edge of the area is well-struck but at a good height for Odense keeper Stefan Wessels to palm away. Decent chance.

Twitter
Jonjo Neeves on Twitter: "I scored vs Neil in a school game when we were 16. He was top class though, great to see him fulfil his potential"

2012: Quiet opening at the Cottage. No chances to speak of. Odense with most of the possession, though.

FA CUP LATEST: All Macclesfield so far at Moss Rose - and the home team went close to a goal through Shaun Brisley, who skimmed the crossbar with a powerful header.

2011: In case you're wondering, Neil Etheridge is an international for the Philippines. At 21 year's old I'm suspecting it may be unlikely that he has made 128 appearances for his national side. Now that would be impressive.

2008: As well as the presence of that famous under-achiever Eric Djemba-Djemba on the bench, there is another little English football link in the Odense side. Peter Utaka is the younger brother of John, once of Portsmouth.

2005: The game is under way at Craven Cottage.

FA CUP PREVIEW: A home tie against Premier League Bolton is the reward for League Two Macclesfield if they can safely despatch non-league Chelmsford in the sides' FA Cup second-round replay. Blue Square South's Chelmsford had Gary Simpson's bench sweating before Tony Diagne's equaliser ensured Macc dodged an upset in their first meeting. Macclesfield are back on home turf but they may not be out of danger yet having gone four matches without a win.

Twitter
Cihan on Twitter: "That is not Jingle Bells that is the music to a traditional Turkish dance, it is not the same! Amazing atmosphere."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Anon, via text: "RE: to the Twitter of Fred Reilly, yea he has had 0 caps for Fulham, or Charlton..but he has played 128 caps, not 28. Now I salute the man."

2001: The teams are on their way out at the Cottage, with an unfamiliar face near the front of the queue in the shape of keeper Neil Etheridge, making his debut in place of the injured Mark Schwarzer. He's a unit as well.

2000: Just to remind you, to qualify for the next round, Fulham need to match or better the result achieved by Wisla Krakow, who play Twente in Poland.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: Those early evening games have concluded and the stand-out facts are that Besiktas walk away winners of Group E, while in Group F Salzburg's 3-2 away success over Slovan Bratislava sends big-spenders Paris Saint-Germain crashing out of the competition on goal-difference. What next for Leonardo's Parisian dream project? Lazio's excellent home win over Group D table-toppers Sporting Lisbon ensures their safe passage to the knock-out phase, while Dynamo Kiev's two red cards ultimately prove immaterial as they bow out.

Twitter
Shamsul Islam on Twitter: "Seen it all now, Fulham F.C selling Al Fayed 'Chairman' gnomes in their club shop. Unbelievable!"

1956: And so we switch back to matters on these shores with Fulham's attempts to follow Stoke into the last 32 with a result against Odense. The Cottagers are, of course, bringing a record of having never lost a European tie at home. So that's progress and pride at stake. A mighty combo.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Anon, via text: "Considering half the game was played with a 10 man reserve team I feel Stoke did well."

Twitter
Owain Reed on Twitter: "The fact that Stoke fans are gutted with second place shows just how far the club have come!"

1951: Oh well, it was all looking so good for Stoke at half time. But Matthew Upson's sending off and the penalty he gave away to earn that dismissal changed the game. Besiktas deserve the win, but Stoke shouldn't be too down-hearted as they will be joining the Turkish side in the last 32. That, after all, was the mission at the start of the group stage.

1950: The final whistle blows. Besiktas 3-1 Stoke.

Twitter
Tarkan MK Hassan on Twitter: "Besiktas deserve this, that's how Jingle Bells motivates a team"

1947: We're going to have two extra minutes.

1947: A minute of normal time to go in Turkey. Both teams just want the final whistle.

Twitter
Fred Reilly on Twitter: "Neil Etheridge - 0 pro appearances, 28 international caps...I salute you"

Twitter
Jon Budd on Twitter: "Nevermind. Stoke going through to the next round is better than what was ever expected!"

1944: Edu in the hunt for another goal as he shoots from 22 yards, but he doesn't strike it anywhere near as well as the goal and Asmir Begovic can drop on it with ease. We're just killing time now until the final whistle.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Besiktas goal: And that, as they say, is that. The ball is fed along the 18 yard box to the left-hand side by Besiktas where Edu, who has just entered the game as a substitute, controls before striking a superb drive that flashes across Asmir Begovic and finds the far corner. Great goal. Game over.

1939: GOALFLASH Besiktas 3-1 Stoke (Edu)

Twitter
Tim Kirk on Twitter: "Pulis must be living a nightmare at the minute, 10 players on the pitch and no recognised centre half on the pitch beyond Higgy."

1937: There is suddenly more urgency about Stoke as you would expect. Asmir Begovic is quick to deliver long balls down field. However, it is just not sticking and Besiktas are looking more likely to add to their lead than concede.

FULHAM v ODENSE TEAM NEWS
Graham Chase reports: "Bobby Zamora starts for Fulham after Martin Jol attempted to quell speculation about the striker's future earlier this week. Neil Etheridge, 21, makes his senior debut in goal, in place of Mark Schwarzer, who will miss up to six weeks with a back problem, in a team that shows seven changes from the side beaten 2-0 at Swansea at the weekend. On the bench for Odense is Eric Djemba-Djemba, whose only career start against Fulham was for Manchester United in a 3-1 home defeat at Old Trafford."

Fulham v Odense line-ups
Fulham:
Etheridge, Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, Briggs, Frei,Gecov, Baird, Dempsey, Dembele, Zamora. Subs: Somogyi,John Arne Riise, Orlando Sa, Kasami, Senderos, Duff, Etuhu.
Odense: Wessels, Ruud, Hoegh, Reginiussen, Mendy, Gislason, Andreasen, Chris Sorensen, Kadrii, Jensen, Utaka. Subs: Krog, Johansson, Schoop, Djemba-Djemba, Johansen, Larsen, Djiby Fall.
Referee: Alon Yefet (Israel)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Besiktas goal: The turnaround is complete. Manuel Fernandes (yes, him again) swings over an outswinging corner which Mustafa Pektemek dives low to head past Asmir Begovic. It was poor marking from Danny Higginbotham. Tough job on for Stoke now. It looks like they may have to settle for second in the group.

1931: GOALFLASH Besiktas 2-1 Stoke (Mustafa Pektemek)

1931: Manuel Fernandes has pretty much been central to everything good about Besiktas. He picks up the ball outside the Stoke box and feeds into Mustafa Pektemek. The striker's shot is low and has to be palmed behind by Asmir Begovic.

Twitter
Mark Wareham on Twitter: "If Zamoras in the shop window, I fully expect an outstanding performance topped off with a couple of goals"

1927: Stoke are camped on their own 18-yard box striving desperately to keep Besiktas out. So far it is working, but 20 minutes is a long time with 10 men.

EUROPA LEAGUE LATEST: We're midway into all the second halves in the 1800 GMT kick-offs, and here's how the land lies; Kiev's lead at home to Maccabi Tel-Aviv is reduced to just 2-1 and now their chances of overhauling Besiktas for that second place in Group F seems remote. They still need at least another goal and for the game in Turkey to worsen for Besiktas. Paris Saint-Germain have been pegged back in their match against Bilbao and as it stands Salzburg, who are now 3-2 up away at Sloven Bratislava, will make it. Lazio's two goals either side of the interval remain the only strikes tonight in Group D, and at the moment the win will be enough to see the Rome side into the knock-out stages.

1922: Besiktas stepping it up now. An attempted one-two in the box is deflected into the middle of the area where Manuel Fernandes attempts an acrobatic volley that is heading goalwards until Asmir Begovic dives low to palm the ball behind. Begovic was great in the first half. You sense he might have to be amazing in the second 45 minutes if Stoke are to get anything here.

1919: After Stoke looked so composed at the start of the second half, you have to fancy Besiktas for a win now.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Red card
Besiktas goal: Is this the incident that swings the game? Hugo Almeida is fed through in the box, a yard ahead of Matthew Upson and the defender stretches to tackle but despite getting the very slightest of touches via a stud on the ball he brings down the striker. It's a penalty, a red card for Upson and to compound Stoke's woe, Manuel Fernandes strokes the spot-kick in.

1915: GOALFLASH Besiktas 1-1 Stoke (Manuel Fernandes)

RED CARD (Stoke's Matthew Upson)

1914: PENALTY TO BESIKTAS

1912: This is getting nasty now. Jermaine Pennant goes to take a corner but is clearly hit by at least one object thrown from the crowd. Understandably, he walks away, leading to some chat between the officials. He eventually returns and the corner is taken, but that's not the end of that story. There is sure to be further action taken.

Twitter
BBC football commentator Nigel Adderley on Twitter: "Fulham teamnews : Zamora starts, Etheridge in goal. Six changes in total. Eric Djemba-Djemba on bench for Odense!"

1907: That was close. Half-time home substitute Mustafa Pektemek picks up the ball 25 yards out and attempts to float a shot over Asmir Begovic. It beats the keeper but also the bar, by a matter of inches. I'm sure Stoke won't mind if Besiktas want to keep trying from there.

1904: Stoke have begun the half well, maintaining possession and, but for resolute defending, would have had a chance as Kenwyne Jones runs forward but is muscled off the ball.

Twitter
Andrew Evans on Twitter: "By the way the Turkish for "against the run of play" (according to Google Translate) is "oyun çal??t?rmak kar??."

1902: The players are back out... and we are under way again.

Twitter
Joe Hutton on Twitter: "I wonder what the odds would've been on stoke going through as group winners at the start of the campaign? Great work by Pulis."

FULHAM v ODENSE (GROUP K, 2005 GMT)
Graham Chase reports: "John Arne Riise may have won the Champions League with Liverpool but the Fulham defender is still desperate to fill his Thursday nights with Europa League football well into the new year with the Cottagers. "I would be devastated if we didn't go through," he said. "It is a match we're favourites for and it would be quite hurtful not to go through. We would have liked to have been in a better position going into the last game, but, at the same time, we have our destiny in our hands. If we win we're through and that's a nice feeling to have."

Twitter
Herolind Beqaj on Twitter: "It's unbelievable that Stoke is ahead after HT. I am sure that Besiktas will come from behind. They just need a little luck."

Twitter
Elder Sanabria on Twitter: "Countless amounts of chances generated by Besiktas. One can only wonder what's being said in the Besiktas dressing room."

FULHAM v ODENSE (GROUP K, 2005 GMT)
Graham Chase reports: "Defending a 22-match unbeaten run at home in Europe, Fulham manager Martin Jol knows that victory will definitely secure progression from the group phase, with FC Twente, who have already qualified, likely to rest a host of players against Wisla Krakow, who trail the Cottagers by a point. At least it is in their own hands but Jol will want a couple of early goals to ensure the game in Poland is irrelevant."

1855: Don't forget that this is just half of the Europa League action I'll bringing you tonight. Later we have Fulham v Odense, with the Cottagers hoping to follow Stoke into the last 32.

1854: So, as we stand Stoke are going through as group winners, along with Besiktas, as runners-up. The only way that could change courtesy of a result from elsewhere is if Dynamo Kiev put further goals past Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Tony Pulis will be a happy man.

Twitter
Nick Main on Twitter: "Re 1836 - How on earth is Jingle Bells supposed to rally a football team?!?!"

Twitter
Raman Daniels on Twitter: "This turkish jingle bells is doing my head in! 30 minutes of it allready?"

Half time
HALF-TIME Besiktas 0-1 Stoke
Saj Chowdhury's HT snap-shot:
"What a half. I don't know what Turkish is for 'against the run of play', but I'm pretty sure the local commentators reacted with those words after Fuller scored. Bring on the second 45."

1848: You may have been fooled from the Jingle Bell singing that the Besiktas fans were in a jolly mood. Well, you can end that thinking right now. The half-time whistle is greeted with a chorus of boos. Their team will not be getting presents for that half. Very naughty boys.

1847: And we may just have seen the last chance of the half, which Manuel Fernandes blazes over from 20 yards.

1846: That was a good chance for Besiktas. Roberto Hilbert's superb curling right-wing cross is between Stoke's defenders and goalkeeper but Hugo Almeida cannot make contact to force it goalwards.

1844: One thing has just been made evident: referee Marcin Borski isn't going to tolerate any time wasting. Not even a bit. He books Asmir Begovic for slightly delaying a goal-kick. Harsh if you ask me. Which nobody did.

1843: Understandably, Stoke are content to sit on this lead and see what Besiktas can do to challenge it. At the moment, the answer to that is nothing. They're still dominating possession but without the assured control of prior to the goal.

Twitter
Shamsul Islam on Twitter: "Best thing about Stoke in Europe, is the guarantee of an honest , passionate game from the players. Respect to Tony P for that."

EUROPA LEAGUE UPDATE: As Stoke take the lead in Group E, Dynamo Kiev are already two goals to the good at home to Maccabi Tel-Aviv and challenging for that second place. It's cloudy in Bratislava but it's raining goals in the Group F clash as home side Slovan Bratislava score two in the first seven minutes before conceding two to SV Salzburg. In Paris, also in Group F, PSG have levelled it with a Javier Pastore strike, cancelling out Jon Aurtenetxe's early goal.

1838: Manuel Fernandes remains a serious threat to Stoke's lead, though. He picks a loose ball up just outside the area and fires a bobbling shot that Asmir Begovic palms behind. From the resulting corner, Huge Almeida handballs to control the ball at the back post and a shooting chance from point-blank range alludes him.

1836: That goal has shocked Besiktas. I'm not surprised, it shocked me as well. The home side are looking a bit less assured and positive. Their fans, though, remain upbeat. They appear to be singing Jingle Bells. But in Turkish.

Twitter
BigBobbyTime on Twitter: "Talk about a goal against the run of play..."

1832: Seconds after taking an unlikely lead, Stoke almost bag a second. And in the most bizarre circumstances as well. Goalscorer Fuller is in on goal again. This time keeper Rustu Recber gets to the ball first but his clearance rebounds off Fuller and loops towards goal. The ball bounces off the underside of the bar and defender Egemen Korkmaz does enough to push the ball behind ahead of Fuller, who was desperate to grab his second.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Stoke goal: Unbelievable. After all that pressure from the home side, Stoke hit net with only their second attempt. And it's that man Ricardo Fuller, who has been central to the game for the last few minutes. He picks it up way out and drives forward before unleashing a shot that deflects off Egemen Korkmaz and loops past Rustu Recber. I repeat: unbelievable.

1829: GOALFLASH Besiktas 0-1 Stoke (Ricardo Fuller)

1829: Injury for Stoke leads to a substitution and what appears to be a change of system. Andy Wilkinson goes off and Jermaine Pennant comes on.

Yellow card
1828: Fuller is really frustrated now as he is booked by referee Marcin Borski for persistant fouling. This time he just scowls. That's way more effective than his arm throwing. I'm frightened and I'm hundreds of miles away.

1826: Frustration for Ricardo Fuller who leaps to head on to Cameron Jerome but is adjudged to have fouled his marker. Fuller reacts with a clearly pained roar and a flinging of his arms into the air.

1824: Manuel Fernandes on the left. To Hugo Almeida in the box. Shot from 12 yards. Saved by Asmir Begovic. I reckon I may well be returning to that description to cut and paste before the game is over.

1822: And there it is. Another effort from Hugo Almeida, who strikes from 25 yards only to again be denied by Asmir Begovic. The goalkeeper has had more touches than the rest of the Stoke side put together so far.

1821: To be fair to Stoke they are keeping their shape well to deny Besiktas much room in the final third, but you sense it won't be long before another chance comes.

Twitter
Elder Sanabria on Twitter: "Besiktas looks hungry for that win. Stoke better be careful."

1817: And just as I'm saying that Stoke get their counter-attacking game spot on as Kenwyne Jones marauds forward before releasing Cameron Jerome with just the keeper to beat. However, the experience Rustu Recber races off his line to block the striker's effort behind. That was a golden opportunity. And considering the nature of the game, Stoke could regret spurning it.

1816: This is worrying now for Stoke. A cross from Veli Kavlak is swung over from the left and Filip Holosko nips in ahead of Asmir Begovic, but his header is over the bar. The assistant's flag shows it wouldn't have counted anyway, but it remains further proof that Stoke are firmly on the back foot.

1813: And again Begovic is called into action to tip over a dipping long-range effort from Veli Kavlak. Stoke living on the edge at the moment. There is little they can do if they don't have the ball, and they have seen precious little of it so far.

1811: Danger again for Stoke as Manuel Fernandes does well on the left to feed Fabian Ernst, and when the latter's attempted flick falls fortuitously back into his path he draws a good low save out of Asmir Begovic from 18 yards.

1810: It appears Stoke are playing very much on the counter-attack, in classic away performance style. They are allowing Besiktas to pile forward, but as yet have not been able to shift fast enough down the other end to make a telling chance for themselves.

1808: They weren't kidding about the atmosphere. Stoke have their first period of possession and it is accompanied from start to finish by some pretty loud whistling and jeering. No place to hide for the visitors.

1807: They've not really challenged Asmir Begovic yet, but it is all Besiktas as Fabian Ernst fires one well, well over from distance. Salif Diao's attempt to get into the game is to start muscling opponents illegally. Still, at least it's a presence in the game. Of sorts.

Twitter
Yash Patel on Twitter: "Stoke still have a line-up that will trouble most PL teams. How Tony Pulis has thrived on tougher challenges!"

1804: The home side come forward again, and this time they do threaten as the ball is fed in to Hugo Almeida, but he drags his first-time shot across goal and wide. Stoke haven't really had a touch yet. No wonder Pulis was up.

1802: Almost a first chance for Besiktas as Manuel Fernandes floats a ball into space down the right-hand side, but it skips out ahead of Filip Holosko.

1801: It doesn't take long for Tony Pulis to be up and barking orders. Who says he's not taking this seriously?

1800: And we are under way.

1800: We're just about ready to get this show on the road.

1759: That Besiktas team may not be at full-strength, but it does contain 11 full internationals. Stoke's second string will have to be on their toes.

1758: We've got ourselves some teams making their way out into what I am reliably informed is a cauldron of a stadium in Turkey. Expect atmosphere and a lot of it.

1756: A few other little stipulations on the last 32 draw. You can't face teams from your own country, so no all-English encounters. Yet.

Twitter
George Farr on Twitter: "I want to confirm despite @zuluwarriorCCFC earlier tweet we took 2 full coaches but 3 turned up ! #ClaretArmy"

Twitter
Joseph Emslie on Twitter: "Schwarzer has been solid for us this season, wish him a quick recovery! Although I am excited to hopefully see Stockdale play!"

EUROPA LEAGUE PREVIEW: The stand-out tie from the 1800 GMT kick-offs is Group F table-toppers Athletic Bilbao's visit to Paris Saint-Germain. The French outfit, bankrolled and expensively assembled this season, lie third on goal difference and probably need a big win tonight if they are to overtake SV Salzburg. It's tight in Group D but a result for FC Vaslui against bottom-dwelling FC Zurich could send the Romanian minnows through at the expense of Lazio. While Stoke seek a safe transition as Group E winners, their opponents Besiktas know that Dynamo Kiev have a job on their hands this evening to overtake them; the Ukraine side must beat Macc Tel-Aviv by at least four goals and hope the game in Turkey goes their way.

1749: It would appear Besiktas are approaching this match in a similar mind-set as Stoke. There is no Ricardo Quaresma or Simao in the home side's starting XI, which is also without top-scorer Mustafa Pektemek. This will only aid Stoke's task.

1745: So what are Stoke up against? Well, Besiktas are currently third in the Turkish league and on a nice little run of form. A run of four straight wins was brought to an end with a draw on Sunday against Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor (try saying that after a few pints).

BESIKTAS v STOKE (GROUP E, 1800 GMT)
Saj Chowdhury reports:
"With qualification in the bag, Stoke have left all 11 players who started against Tottenham at home. So, they miss out on a trip to warmer Turkey. Harsh. Mild humour aside, victory for Besiktas would see them leapfrog Stoke and take top spot - which means Stoke may face one of the best of the Champions League drop-outs in the next round."

1740: Or, at least you'd think that would reduce any airport problems. Not so. Their scheduled four-hour flight from Manchester to Istanbul turned into a seven-hour trip taking in three airports due to delays. Still, they're there now, and not a sticky bandit in sight.

1737: Pulis, though, clearly doesn't prize the favourable part of the draw that highly as all 11 of the players who beat Tottenham last Sunday have stayed back in Stoke (presumably to watch on TV), while only 15 squad members have travelled to Turkey - hence just the four named subs tonight. At least that reduces the chance of any Home Alone 2-style airport confusion, which leaves Jermaine Pennant on his own in New York, with hilarious repercussions.

Twitter
Solomon Hayes on Twitter: "Stoke clearly don't care too much about this match, but because of that they can go into the match with no pressure. 2-1 Stoke."

1735: Besiktas are the only team that can deny Stoke winning Group E, so the Potters will be after at least a draw to ensure they enter the (supposedly) more favourable half of the last 32 draw.*
*Europa League group toppers and the best four Champions League third-place finishers go into one half of the draw, with all the rest in the other half. The former play the second leg of the knock-out tie at home. So all of you previously not in the know are now, er, in the know.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Faris, Putney, via text: "No Schwarzer, Murphy, Johnson, Sidwell or Bryan... this game could be far more evenly matched than it should be. Still confident of a comfortable win, Dembele hat trick anyone?"

BESIKTAS v STOKE TEAM NEWS
Saj Chowdhury reports:
"Stoke name an all-new starting XI to the one that began the match against Tottenham on Sunday. Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones start up front, with defender Matthew Upson captaining the side. "

Besiktas v Stoke line-ups
Besiktas:
Recber, Hilbert, Sivok, Korkmaz, Koybasi, Ernst, Uysal, Holosko, Fernandes, Kavlak, Almeida. Subs: Gonen, Toraman, Pektemek, Dag, Julio Alves, Sidnei, De Oliveira.
Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Upson, Diao, Higginbotham, Delap, Palacios, Arismendi, Jones, Jerome, Fuller. Subs: Nash, Pennant, Clarkson, Dawson.
Referee: Marcin Borski (Poland)

STOKE TEAM NEWS SNAP: The Potters have an entirely new 11 from the side that beat Tottenham at the weekend.

1728: Before all that Fulham-themed action, we've got a game from Turkey to take care of as Stoke carry a big load of good recent form into a match from which a win will see them top Group E. Tony Pulis' side are four matches unbeaten in all competitions, including an impressive 2-1 win over Tottenham last time out. It's a far cry from that hammering at Bolton a month ago.

1727: Fulham's hopes are boosted by the return of striker Bobby Zamora, who did not feature in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Swansea. Worryingly for Fulham fans, the England man has been subject of speculation this week suggesting a rift between him and manager Martin Jol, but the Dutchman has refuted this. "I said to him a few weeks ago 'do you love this club?' and he said 'yes, I love this club, I love this team'," explained Jol. Gives you a warm glow all over.

1726: The Europa League has been good to Fulham in the recent past, but if they want to continue their adventure this campaign then it is possible that only a win against bottom club Odense will do. The Cottagers stand second in Group K, behind Twente, who play Fulham's rivals for qualification Wisla Krakow tonight and can do Martin Jol's men a massive favour by beating the Polish side.

1724: I can bring you a bit of early Fulham team-related news that goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer won't be playing against Odense tonight, or indeed against anyone for around six weeks after the club announced he has suffered a spine injury. Undoubtedly a big loss for the Cottagers, who may have to call on Neil Etheridge tonight. They've also recalled David Stockdale from his loan spell at Ipswich.

Twitter
Andrew on Twitter: "Clarets on tour 2nd round replay 3 supporters coaches full :) #Clarets #nonleague #BBCFootball #claretarmy"

Twitter
Mark Wareham on Twitter: "Already excited about #fulhamfc european adventure continuing in earnest tonight #COYW #bbcfootball #cantbeleiveijustsaidearnest"

1718: So you've got the general gist of matters, why not let me know what you think? You can Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @phildawkes or text in via 81111 (UK). In honour of the recently departed Sam Lyon: bish, bash, and indeed bosh.

1717: As well as the Europa League, we've also got ourselves an FA Cup second round replay in the form of League Two Macclesfield v non-league Chelmsford. Town managed to just stave off a shock in the original tie, but like a great big game of Operation it's only a matter of time before they're left facing another, ie. tonight.

1714: Tonight is more of a crunch night for Fulham than it is for Stoke. While the Potters would clearly love to top Group E by avoiding defeat at Besiktas (1800 GMT kick-off), the first key hurdle of qualification is already in the bag. The Cottagers, though, must match Wisla Krakow's result against Twente in their match at home to Odense (2005 GMT) to qualify from Group K. Cue plenty of tension in west London.

1710: First, though, lets sort out these group stages, which are proving more pesky than Scooby Doo's youthful mates when faced with a suspiciously uncooperative fairground owner. I think it's only right that we start with Stoke and Fulham. Seen as they're the two English sides playing tonight. That seems like a good idea. Right? Yes? Why am I asking you?

1705: Apparently, it means "cool" or "happening", which is just the Europa League all over. With the groups set for some potentially digit-chewing finales for our boys and a whole host of Champions League evictees (including two big Mancunian hitters) set to join the party in the next round, we could be in for some serious fun ahead of the final at the Stadionul National in Bucharest in May.

1700: Hold on to your bobble hat because the Europa League is about to get off the hook. And that is a sentence I never thought I'd write, not least of all because I'm not exactly sure what "off the hook" means.




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Europa League results

14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

  • Anderlecht5-3Lokomotiv Moscow
    FT
  • Besiktas3-1StokeFT
  • Dynamo Kiev3-3Macc Tel-Aviv
    FT
  • FC Zurich2-0FC Vaslui
    FT
  • Fulham2-2Odense BKFT
  • Lazio2-0Sporting
    FT
  • Maccabi Haifa0-3Schalke 04
    FT
  • Paris SG4-2Athletic Bilbao
    FT
  • Slovan Bratislava2-3SV Salzburg
    FT
  • Steaua Bucharest3-1AEK Larnaca
    FT
  • Sturm Graz1-3AEK Athens
    FT
  • Wisla Krakow2-1FC Twente
    FT

Europa Group A table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 PAOK Salonika 5 4 11
2 Rubin Kazan 5 6 10
3 Tottenham 5 1 7
4 Shamrock Rovers 5 -11 0

Europa Group B table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Standard Liege 5 7 11
2 Hannover 96 5 0 8
3 FC Copenhagen 5 -3 5
4 Vorskla Poltava 5 -4 2

Europa Group C table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 PSV Eindhoven 5 7 13
2 Legia Warsaw 5 0 9
3 Hapoel Tel-Aviv 5 -1 4
4 Rapid Bucharest 5 -6 3

Europa Group D table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Sporting 6 4 12
2 Lazio 6 2 9
3 FC Vaslui 6 -3 6
4 FC Zurich 6 -3 5

Europa Group E table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Besiktas 6 6 12
2 Stoke 6 3 11
3 Dynamo Kiev 6 0 7
4 Macc Tel-Aviv 6 -9 2

Europa Group F table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Athletic Bilbao 6 3 13
2 SV Salzburg 6 3 10
3 Paris SG 6 1 10
4 Slovan Bratislava 6 -7 1

Europa Group G table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 FC Metalist Kharkiv 5 9 13
2 AZ Alkmaar 5 3 7
3 Aust. Vienna 5 -3 5
4 Malmo 5 -9 1

Europa Group H table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Club Brugge 5 3 10
2 Braga 5 6 10
3 Birmingham 5 -1 7
4 NK Maribor 5 -8 1

Europa Group I table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Atletico Madrid 5 5 10
2 Udinese 5 -1 8
3 Celtic 5 -1 5
4 Rennes 5 -3 3

Europa Group J table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Schalke 04 6 11 14
2 Steaua Bucharest 6 -2 8
3 Maccabi Haifa 6 -2 6
4 AEK Larnaca 6 -7 5

Europa Group K table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 FC Twente 6 7 13
2 Wisla Krakow 6 -5 9
3 Fulham 6 3 8
4 Odense BK 6 -5 4

Europa Group L table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Dec 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Anderlecht 6 13 18
2 Lokomotiv Moscow 6 3 12
3 AEK Athens 6 -7 3
4 Sturm Graz 6 -9 3

see also
Wednesday's football photos
14 Dec 11 |  Football


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