Sunday, 6 November 2011

Match Report Fulham 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Brad Friedel produced a match-winning display as Spurs survived a second-half onslaught to beat Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage. It had been a mixed week for these two London clubs as Fulham destroyed Wisla Krakow in the Europa League while Spurs were being narrowly beaten in Russia after manager Harry Redknapp had undergone minor heart surgery. The Spurs boss was absent from the dugout for this game and will no doubt have been grateful for it as his side shredded the nerves of their fans with a frantic defensive display in the second half. Fulham were quickly out of the blocks but were struck by the first sucker punch of the afternoon in the 10th minute as Aaron Lennon's cross was parried into the path of Gareth Bale who slammed the ball back across goal and Chris Baird could not keep it out on the line. The hosts continued to pressurise throughout the first half but were hit again on the break in stoppage time as Bale's clever flick sent Lennon racing away and he twisted and turned his way past Baird before firing into the far corner with his left foot. There was further bad news for Fulham before the break as Zdenek Grygera appeared to suffer a serious knee injury while tackling Bale on the halfway line. Martin Jol's side responded superbly in the second half and found a way back into it just before the hour mark as Damien Duff's corner was headed across his own goal by Ledley King before rebounding into the net off Younes Kaboul. Then came the Friedel show. As Fulham pressed and pressed the veteran American goalkeeper seemed to deny every player in Fulham white at some point including two sensational moments in a dramatic injury-time period. First, Zamora went through on goal and Freidel denied him one on one before then keeping out Bryan Ruiz and Clint Dempsey's follow-ups. Then from the resulting corner he reacted superbly to keep out Brede Hangeland's header from the edge of the six-yard box and then saw Luka Modric turn away Ruiz's header with what appeared to be his little left toe. Fulham's afternoon was summed up perfectly when Emmanuel Adebayor's stinging cutback was volleyed expertly into the back of the net by substitute Jermain Defoe with the final kick of the game to really rub salt into the Cottagers' wounds.

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