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Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Late Fulham deny Boro
Massimo Maccarone
Maccarone fired Boro into a first-half lead
Middlesbrough 2-2 Fulham

Fulham scored twice in the dying minutes to salvage an undeserved draw against Middlesbrough, for whom Massimo Maccarone had a dream home debut.

The home side looked to be cruising towards a comfortable win as Maccarone capped a superb display with two well-taken goals.

But despite creating little in the first 89 minutes, Fulham were given hope when Sean Davies pulled one back.

  Key moments
32 mins: Massimo Maccarone scores his first goal for Boro
51 mins: Maccarone heads home a Jonathan Greening cross
89 mins: Sean Davies pulls one back for Fulham
90 mins: Substitute Facundo Sava equalises at the death

And the home fans were left stunned when Argentine substitute Facundo Sava took advantage of confusion in a shell-shocked Boro defence to grab a point for the Londoners.

There was little sign of the drama to come in a stale first half in which Fulham could not capitalise on some tidy midfield play and failed to muster a single clear-cut chance.


Football teaches you harsh lessons and we got one today
Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren

Italian striker Maccarone deservedly gave the home side the lead just after the half-hour mark, rifling a left-foot shot past Edwin Van der Saar.

The 8.1m summer signing, who was largely disappointing in his debut at Southampton, silenced the critics with an accomplished performance, and in tandem with Croatian Alen Boksic caused havoc in the Londoners' defence all afternoon.

Boksic might have scored one himself when he jinked into the area and let loose a right-footed shot which was blocked by Steve Finnan.

Jonathan Greening
Greening's cross set up Boro's second goal

Louis Saha should have equalised for Fulham as the second half got underway but under little pressure the Frenchman planted an easy header wide of the post.

Maccarone, however, wasted no time in carrying on where he had left off in the first half.

Greening jinked down the left-hand side before throwing over a swirling cross which was met perfectly by Maccarone to put Boro in complete command.

Still Fulham were unable to respond and as the gaps opened up in their defence, Maccarone twice came close to his hat-trick.

Minutes after his second goal, the Italian rolled his right-footed shot wide with only the Fulham goalkeeper to beat.


In the end it was a beautiful draw
Fulham assistant manager Christian Damiano

And on the hour mark, Greening crossed again but Maccarone could not repeat the trick and his fierce 12-yard shot was saved by the sprawling legs of Van der Sar.

As the 90 minutes approached Boro boss Steve McLaren took off Maccarone, who received a standing ovation, and it was then that Fulham hit back to rescue an unlikely point.



Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Geremi, Cooper, Ehiogu, Southgate, Stockdale, Boateng, Greening, Marinelli (Wilson 84), Maccarone (Whelan 84), Boksic (Job 79).
Subs Not Used: Crossley, Gavin.

Booked: Marinelli, Geremi, Ehiogu, Wilson.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Finnan, Melville, Brevett, Goma, Malbranque (Inamoto 60), Legwinski, Davis, Boa Morte, Marlet (Sava 61), Saha.
Subs Not Used: Collins, Taylor, Ouaddou.

Booked: Malbranque, Finnan.

Attendance: 28,588

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Peter Slater
"The game was turned on its head "
Middlesbrough's Gareth Southgate
"We threw it away"
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