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Roy Hodgson hails Fulham win over Shakhtar Donetsk

Bobby Zamora celebrates his goal
Zamora will be hoping England boss Fabio Capello saw his winning strike

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson said his side were hitting new heights after they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie.

Zoltan Gera and Bobby Zamora sealed a 2-1 win after Luiz Adriano had levelled for last year's Uefa Cup winners.

"I'm pleased to take such an important scalp. It's a big game for Fulham and we've come a long way," said Hodgson.

"We've done it and are very proud of it. This was a very good victory - probably our best in Europe."

Hodgson added: "If someone had said to me during my first season here when we were battling to stay in the Premier League that we'd beat Shakhtar in a couple of years, I'd have thought they were taking the mickey.

The Cottagers are enjoying a fine season, despite injuries ravaging the squad, with striker Andrew Johnson ruled out for the campaign and forward Clint Dempsey and defender John Pantsil also on the sidelines.

Having progressed into the FA Cup quarter-finals, Fulham are 10th in the Premier League and their hopes of progression in the Europa League now rest on taking a slender one-goal lead to Ukraine on 25 February.

"We're very happy to get victory against such a good team," said Hodgson.

"It was a very exciting cup tie played in the right spirit and was very competitive. Both teams tried to pass the ball.

"There's an awful lot left in this tie because we saw how skilful they are, but we still have a chance to make a name for ourselves."

Fulham were often outplayed in Wednesday's entertaining clash, but a valiant defensive display and Zamora's 25-yard blast on the hour ensured a satisfying win over the team who beat Werder Bremen to lift the Uefa Cup last year.

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The 29-year-old Zamora, pushing for a spot in England's World cup squad, bagged his 14th goal of the season in 31 starts and Hodgson has high hopes for the striker who almost joined Hull in the summer.

"It was a wonder strike from Bobby. He's got two feet - I don't know which is his best and neither does he," said the Fulham boss.

"Apart from his typically accomplished performance as a target man setting things up and working hard, his strike was of real quality.

"He has an excellent strike rate. I hope he can get over the 20-goal mark to crown his season."



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see also
Fulham 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
18 Feb 10 |  Europe
Thursday football as it happened
18 Feb 10 |  Football
Thursday's football photos
18 Feb 10 |  Football
Ukraine footballers' Harrods ban
17 Feb 10 |  London
Zamora 'deserves England chance'
18 Dec 09 |  Fulham


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