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Saturday, 6 July, 2002, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Fulham in Intertoto stalemate
Fulham's Abdeslam Ouaddou and FC Haka's Mikko Innanen battle for the ball
Fulham's Ouaddou (right) came closest to scoring
Fulham 0-0 FC Haka Valkeakoski

A strong Fulham side were unable to break down a brave FC Haka Valkeakoski unit at Craven Cottage, with the Finnish club's goalkeeper Mihail Slawuta in superb form.

Jean Tigana's side created a hatful of chances but a combination of poor finishing, the woodwork and the superb form of Slawuta made for a frustrating afternoon for the home team.

Steve Marlet might have scored a hat-trick but Fulham's lack of match sharpness was evident against a team 12 games into their new season.

Fulham play the away leg of their Intertoto Cup first-round tie in Finland next Sunday.

  Key Moments
31 mins: Marlet's looping shot palmed onto crossbar
48 mins: Saha deflection hits crossbar
66 mins: Ouaddou blocked brilliantly by Slawuta
84 mins: Suspected elbow on Fulham substitute Goldbaek

And they will have to improve on their generally lacklustre display if they are to progress in the competition.

After a quiet opening to the game, Fulham fashioned their first real chance midway through the first half.

France's Steed Malbranque crafted some space on the edge of FC Haka's penalty area and fed veteran midfielder John Collins.

To draw 0-0 is not a bad result, and it was important not to concede a goal
Fulham assistant boss Christian Damiano

Collins, though, slashed at the presentable chance and dragged the ball well wide of the right-hand upright.

The London club then enjoyed a period of sustained pressure and the deadlock seemed certain to be broken.

Marlet, who missed out on France's World Cup misery, twisted and turned 20 yards from goal after 31 minutes.

His well-struck left-foot shot looked to be looping into goal until Haka's third choice goalkeeper Slawuta superbly palmed the ball onto the crossbar and out for a corner.

Fulham's new signing Sava was then inches away from opening the scoring when Malbranque's curling effort was parried as the Argentine slid in.

Marlet was to have the final word of the first 45 minutes, when just before the break he mis-hit a volley from a Jon Harley cross into the ground.

The ball bounced up and hit Haka captain Harri Ylonen flush in the face.

Second-half stalemate

Hungarian Peter Kovacs should have tested Maik Taylor with a tame header moments after the interval.

But it was not long before the home side regained the initiative and went on the attack to threaten Slawuta quickly twice in succession.
Fulham's new signing Facundo Sava gets away from FC Hakas Juha Pasoja
New signing Sava (right) does not look the answer to a misfiring attack

First, a deflected Louis Saha strike cannoned off the crossbar to safety.

Then, Collins crossed from the left and a powerful Marlet header was excellently blocked by the overworked Haka goalkeeper.

Just before the hour the ball somewhat fortuitously spilled out to an unmarked Marlet bustling his way into the penalty area.

The Frenchman struck the ball well but Slawuta stood up well to deny him.

Slawuta's been playing for a month, due to injury to our normal keeper. He's played four games and played very, very well
Haka coach Olli Huttunen

After 66 minutes Fulham carved out their best opportunity of the game.

A wicked Malbranque free-kick from the left was met powerfully by Morocco's Abdeslam Ouaddou.

Ouaddou's strong header was superbly stopped by the inspired Slawuta and smuggled out by his defence.

Fulham kept on pushing forward but could not breach Haka's determined backline.

Fulham: Taylor, Ouaddou, Melville, Goma, Harley, Davis, Collins, Malbranque (Goldbaek 78), Marlet (Boa Morte 71), Saha, Sava (Hayles 60).
Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Knight, Hudson, Legwinski.

Booked: Malbranque.

FC Haka: Slawuta, Karjalainen, Pasoja, Ylonen, Innanen (Vaisanen 79), Ristila (Aalto 64), Ruhanen (Koivuranta 78), Rantala, Kovacs, Okkonen, Kangaskorpi.
Subs Not Used: Vilmunen, Koskinen, Torkelli, Pasanen.

Booked: Rantala, Okkonen, Ylonen.

Attendance: 7,908

Referee: L Gadosi (Slovakia).

BBC Five Live's Conor McNamara
"It was like Fulham were playing their sisters"
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