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Page last updated at 18:50 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 19:50 UK

CSKA Sofia   1 - 1   Fulham

Diomansy Kamara celebrates
Kamara celebrates his crucial second-half equaliser with John Pantsil in Bulgaria

By Sam Lyon

Diomansy Kamara's second-half strike ensured a much-changed Fulham marked their Europa League group stages bow with a precious point at CSKA Sofia.

The Senegalese striker latched on to a ball over the top to round the keeper and slot home as Fulham held off an effervescent Sofia side in Bulgaria.

The hosts had taken the lead when Michel lashed home from 20 yards.

And they could have won it had Fulham keeper David Stockdale not tipped Yordan Todorov's drive over the bar.

A point was always going to be a valuable one for Fulham as they made their first appearance in the group stages of a European competition in the club's history, but Sofia's hussle-and-bustle approach almost ensured the Londoners were forced to make the long trip home with nothing.

As it was, Kamara rounded off a fine individual display with a very well taken goal to reward Fulham's determination and just about justify boss Roy Hodgson's decision to rest nine first-team players.

This time last season, Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill made eight changes for his side's Uefa Cup clash against CSKA Moscow and they subsequently lost 2-0 and were dumped out of the competition.

But that did not deter Hodgson, with only keeper Stockdale and defender John Pantsil surviving from Sunday's Premier League win over Everton.

It did, however, lead to a disjointed opening from the Londoners, and CSKA Sofia were by far the better starters at the Vasil Levski National, with Ivan Stoyanov cutting in from the right and whipping a left-footed shot wide of the far post inside the first three minutes.

606: DEBATE

The hosts controlled the early stages, with Stoyanov and Spas Delev both impressing and Fulham strikers Erik Nevland and Kamara increasingly isolated up front.

Chances were very much at a premium, though, and despite the odd occasionally spicy tussle in midfield, the Cottagers slowly took the sting out of the game and settled into their rhythm.

And they almost made the most of their best period of the half just before the break with the best chance of the half, Simon Davies latching on to Jonathan Greening's deflected cross and forcing home keeper Ivan Karadzhov into a low save from 12 yards out.

CSKA kicked off the second half with renewed adventure and ambition, and launched passionate appeals for a penalty when Kosta Yanev's cross bounced up onto Stephen Kelly's arm, only for the referee - aided by the new goal-line assistant in place for the first time in European competition - to correctly wave away the appeals.

The hosts did not have to wait long to break the deadlock, though, and substitute Michel - nicknamed Michel Platini - was the goalscorer, collecting Marquinhos's knock-down, taking a touch, and sweeping home on the half volley from 20 yards out.

It could have been a killer blow for Fulham, but they responded brilliantly and were back on level terms within three minutes.

Nevland was the creator, the striker sweeping the ball over the top on the counter attack for Kamara to run onto and, with the keeper stranded 30 yards from the goal, the 28-year-old took a touch and fired into an empty net with aplomb.

There was still time for Stockdale to mark his European debut with a smart stop, pushing Todorov's firmly-hit shot over the bar after more good work from Marquinhos.

But that was the last of the real goalmouth action as Fulham ensured they kicked off their Group E campaign with a point from what was a tricky opening fixture in Bulgaria.

And with group favourites Roma losing their equivalent tie against FC Basel, the Cottagers will return to London more than happy to have got off the mark.

Live text and stats

 

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Europa League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
CSKA Sofia 1-1 Fulham FT
(HT 0-0)
  • Michel 62
  • Kamara 65

CSKA Sofia

  • 12 Karadzhov
  • 04 Stoyanov
  • 06 Kotev
  • 15 Ivanov
  • 30 Yordan Todorov
  • 52 Minev yellow card
  • 05 Yanchev
  • 21 Yanev (Manchev 78)
  • 32 Morozs (Marquinhos 46 yellow card)
  • 73 Stoyanov (Michel 54 yellow card)
  • 77 Delev

Substitutes

  • 27 Petrov,
  • 02 Vidanov,
  • 13 Branekov,
  • 28 Marquinhos,
  • 08 Timonov,
  • 07 Manchev,
  • 22 Michel

Fulham

Substitutes

Ref: CeferinAtt: 28,000
CSKA SOFIA
FULHAM

Possession

  • CSKA Sofia 54%
  • Fulham 46%

Attempts on target

  • CSKA Sofia 6
  • Fulham 2

Attempts off target

  • CSKA Sofia 7
  • Fulham 6

Corners

  • CSKA Sofia 9
  • Fulham 1

Fouls

  • CSKA Sofia 9
  • Fulham 9
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+3:36 The match has reached full-time.
  • 90:00+1:52 Free kick crossed by Chris Baird, Ivan Ivanov makes a clearance.
  • 90:00+1:52 Booking Marcos Marquinhos receives a yellow card.
  • 90:00+1:42 Handball by Marcos Marquinhos.
  • 90:00+0:52 The offside flag is raised against Yordan Todorov. Direct free kick taken by David Stockdale.
  • 89:49 Simon Davies produces a cross, Erik Nevland takes a shot. Iordan Minev makes a clearance.
  • 89:49 Booking Ferreira Michel goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
  • 89:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ferreira Michel on Simon Davies.
  • 89:02 Corner taken by Marcos Marquinhos from the left by-line, Kiril Kotev takes a shot. Chris Baird gets a block in.
  • 88:31 Free kick crossed right-footed by Marcos Marquinhos, clearance by Chris Smalling.
  • 88:31 Booking Diomansy Kamara is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
  • 88:20 Unfair challenge on Kostadin Stoyanov by Diomansy Kamara results in a free kick.
  • 86:53 Centre by John Pantsil, clearance by Spas Delev.
  • 86:25 Ivan Ivanov gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Erik Nevland. Free kick crossed right-footed by John Pantsil, Spas Delev makes a clearance.
  • 82:41 Diomansy Kamara produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
  • 81:44 Effort on goal by Kostadin Stoyanov from 35+ yards. Save made by David Stockdale.
  • 79:56 The ball is crossed by Iordan Minev, clearance by Chris Smalling.
  • 79:21 Zoltan Gera produces a cross, save made by Ivan Karadzhov.
  • 78:57 Foul by Yordan Todorov on Chris Baird, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by David Stockdale.
  • 77:31 Substitution Kosta Yanev goes off and Vladimir Manchev comes on.
  • 77:11 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Yordan Todorov.
  • 76:49 Yordan Todorov takes a shot. Save made by David Stockdale.
  • 75:47 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Kostadin Stoyanov.
  • 75:39 Iordan Minev crosses the ball, clearance by Chris Baird.
  • 75:13 The referee blows for offside. Kiril Kotev takes the free kick.
  • 74:30 The ball is delivered by Diomansy Kamara, Ivan Karadzhov makes a comfortable save.
  • 73:45 Erik Nevland has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the target.
  • 71:57 Erik Nevland has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
  • 69:53 Shot from just outside the area by Yordan Todorov misses to the left of the target.
  • 69:46 Iordan Minev sends in a cross, clearance made by Chris Baird.
  • 67:25 Diomansy Kamara takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 64:39 GOAL - Diomansy KamaraCSKA Sofia 1 - 1 Fulham Diomansy Kamara grabs a goal from just inside the area to the top left corner of the goal. CSKA Sofia 1-1 Fulham.
  • 63:04 Iordan Minev concedes a free kick for a foul on Zoltan Gera. Simon Davies takes the free kick.
  • Correction - 61:19 GOAL - Ferreira MichelCSKA Sofia 1 - 0 Fulham Ferreira Michel fires in a goal from just outside the area to the top right corner of the goal. CSKA Sofia 1-0 Fulham.
  • 61:19 Assist by Marcos Marquinhos.
  • 61:19 GOAL - Ferreira MichelCSKA Sofia 1 - 0 Fulham Ferreira Michel finds the net with a goal from just outside the area to the top right corner of the goal. CSKA Sofia 1-0 Fulham.
  • 56:42 The ball is crossed by Kiril Kotev, clearance made by John Pantsil.
  • 52:52 Ivan Karadzhov takes the direct free kick.
  • 52:52 Substitution Ivan Stoyanov leaves the field to be replaced by Ferreira Michel.
  • 52:52 The official flags Erik Nevland offside.
  • 51:57 Corner taken right-footed by Ivan Stoyanov to the near post, Erik Nevland makes a clearance. Effort on goal by Kosta Yanev from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.
  • 51:46 Centre by Kosta Yanev, clearance made by Stephen Kelly.
  • 49:25 Centre by Erik Nevland, clearance by Kosta Yanev.
  • 48:36 Yordan Todorov produces a drilled right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the right-hand post.
  • 47:31 Marcos Marquinhos produces a drilled right-footed shot from 30 yards. Chris Smalling gets a block in.
  • 45:55 Marcos Marquinhos crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, clearance made by Jonathan Greening.
  • 45:55 Booking Chris Smalling is given a yellow card.
  • 45:49 Ivan Stoyanov fouled by Chris Smalling, the ref awards a free kick.
  • 45:02 Substitution (CSKA Sofia) makes a substitution, with Marcos Marquinhos coming on for Viktors Morozs.
  • 45:01 The second half begins.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+1:37 The ref blows to signal half-time.
  • 45:00+0:45 Corner from left by-line crossed in by Ivan Stoyanov, clearance made by Chris Smalling.
  • 44:22 Shot by Simon Davies. Save made by Ivan Karadzhov.
  • 41:41 Erik Nevland gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kiril Kotev. Kiril Kotev takes the free kick.
  • 39:14 Free kick awarded for a foul by Viktors Morozs on Bjorn Helge Riise. Chris Baird restarts play with the free kick.
  • 38:50 Corner taken by Ivan Stoyanov from the left by-line, Chris Baird manages to make a clearance.
  • 37:19 Free kick awarded for a foul by Erik Nevland on Kiril Kotev. Kiril Kotev takes the free kick.
  • 36:51 Ivan Stoyanov takes a shot. Save made by David Stockdale.
  • 35:27 The assistant referee signals for offside against Stephen Kelly. Direct free kick taken by Ivan Karadzhov.
  • 34:22 Corner taken by Simon Davies, Chris Smalling produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
  • 30:56 Ivan Stoyanov is ruled offside. Direct free kick taken by David Stockdale.
  • 30:34 Unfair challenge on Spas Delev by Simon Davies results in a free kick. Kostadin Stoyanov takes the direct free kick.
  • 29:24 Simon Davies delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, Ivan Ivanov manages to make a clearance.
  • 29:24 Booking Iordan Minev receives a caution.
  • 29:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Zoltan Gera by Iordan Minev.
  • 28:44 Todor Yanchev challenges Diomansy Kamara unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Stockdale takes the direct free kick.
  • 28:17 Corner taken left-footed by Ivan Stoyanov to the near post, clearance made by Chris Baird.
  • 25:31 The official flags Spas Delev offside. Direct free kick taken by David Stockdale.
  • 24:16 The assistant referee flags for offside against Ivan Stoyanov. John Pantsil restarts play with the free kick.
  • 23:20 Corner taken right-footed by Yordan Todorov from the right by-line, Effort on goal by Ivan Stoyanov from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.
  • 22:16 Free kick crossed right-footed by Ivan Stoyanov from left channel, John Pantsil makes a clearance.
  • 22:16 Booking Jonathan Greening goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
  • 22:04 Jonathan Greening concedes a free kick for a foul on Kosta Yanev.
  • 19:59 Kostadin Stoyanov crosses the ball.
  • 19:37 Iordan Minev fouled by Zoltan Gera, the ref awards a free kick. Todor Yanchev restarts play with the free kick.
  • 17:54 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Yordan Todorov played to the near post, Chris Smalling makes a clearance.
  • 17:37 Centre by Yordan Todorov, Chris Baird makes a clearance.
  • 16:45 Unfair challenge on Jonathan Greening by Yordan Todorov results in a free kick. Chris Baird takes the free kick.
  • 12:58 Jonathan Greening concedes a free kick for a foul on Viktors Morozs. Iordan Minev restarts play with the free kick.
  • 11:39 Stephen Kelly fouled by Yordan Todorov, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Chris Baird.
  • 8:36 Simon Davies challenges Todor Yanchev unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ivan Ivanov takes the free kick.
  • 4:43 Ivan Stoyanov has an effort at goal. Save by David Stockdale.
  • 4:13 Chris Baird produces a cross.
  • 3:22 Left-footed shot by Viktors Morozs missed to the right of the net.
  • 2:07 Cross/shot by Ivan Stoyanov.
  • 0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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