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Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 17:14 UK

Man City 2-3 Fulham

By Tom Fordyce

Diomansy Kamara
Kamara goes to the Fulham fans after his dramatic late winner

Fulham staged a remarkable comeback to keep their Premier League hopes alive in a dramatic see-saw match.

City opened a 2-0 lead thanks to a brilliant curler from Stephen Ireland and Benjani's side-foot finish.

Diomansy Kamara put Fulham back into it with 20 minutes left by drilling a shot through 'keeper Joe Hart's legs.

Danny Murphy equalised nine minutes later, slotting home after Joe hart saved his penalty, and Kamara fired the winner in the very last minute.

I never lost hope - Hodgson

Fulham needed a minor miracle to stay up before the match, and manager Roy Hodgson's body language told its own story as events unfolded.

As news came in of early goals from relegation rivals Birmingham and Bolton, Hodgson's frown deepened and his shoulders slumped.

By contrast, City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson was all smiles as his team impressed under the watching eyes of owner Thaksin Shinawatra.

606: DEBATE

But when Kamara kept his cool to give Fulham the points, Hodgson and his staff leapt from their seats in joy.

City started sleepily in the spring sunshine at Eastlands as Fulham created early chances; Clint Dempsey forced Hart into a diving save from Simon Davies's pull-back after Jimmy Bullard's long-range effort dipped wide.

But Ireland's goal was the catalyst for a change in the balance of play as Fulham's optimism crumbled in the face of a slick City onslaught.

When Benjani slid his shot home on 21 minutes, the writing appeared to be on the wall for the visitors.

Interview: Man City boss Sven Goran Eriksson

Elano was somehow running the game from right-back, picking out Vassell behind the defence and finding Petrov with some wonderful crossfield passes.

And when Fulham finally did create a chance - Northern Ireland striker David Healy meeting Simon Davies' cross with a point-blank header - Hart made a fine one-handed reflex save.

Fulham have been stuck in 19th place in the table since the New Year, and with Birmingham two ahead against Liverpool, their long-suffering fans fell silent.

But when Murphy put them level after Hart had blocked his tame spot-kick as Liverpool drew level at St Andrews and Bolton failed to hold their lead at Tottenham, they finally found their voice.

A draw, however, was not enough for Fulham and as they pressed forward a fine ball picked out Kamara in the inside left channel and he lashed powerfully into the roof of the net to leave Eriksson shaking his head in disbelief.


Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson:
"We lost a game we should have won. We controlled most of it, and we thought it was done.

"If you don't defend, you lose the ball and you give them chances. They fought until the end, but we stopped fighting.

"We can't blame anyone but ourselves for losing a game like this."

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
"It was a splendid victory for us, one we so badly needed.

"It looked bleak at half-time, and we had a mountain to climb - we didn't deserve to be losing. But we did it.

"At 0-2 I honestly thought we weren't out of it. I never lost hope, but to win it was extraordinary. We've given ourselves a chance now."


Man City: Hart, Elano, Corluka, Ball, Jihai, Vassell (Caicedo 80), Gelson, Johnson, Petrov, Ireland (Geovanni 56), Mwaruwari.
Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Castillo, Logan.

Goals: Ireland 10, Mwaruwari 21.

Fulham: Keller, Stalteri, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Dempsey, Healy (Kamara 64), McBride (Nevland 71).
Subs Not Used: Warner, Bocanegra, Andreasen.

Booked: Dempsey.

Goals: Kamara 70, Murphy 79, Kamara 90.

Att: 44,504

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Manchester City's Vedran Corluka 8 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




see also
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day
Premier League as it happened
26 Apr 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
26 Apr 08 |  Football


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