Fulham FC were left heartbroken as they lost the Europa League final to a late, unfortunate goal from Diego Forlan five minutes from time, in extra time.
This was Fulham’s first major cup final for 35 years, and they showed exactly why they deserved to be there, pulling out a performance fit for European finalists. It was Atletico who went close first. Only 13 minutes in Sergio Aguero played in Diego Forlan who took the ball on his left foot, beating Mark Schwarzer but being denied by the far post.
That mattered little however as Atletico took the lead soon after. 12 minutes before half time the ball was played into Sergio Aguero who took it brilliantly on his chest, before attempting a left foot volley. The ball flew towards goal, but was diverted into the opposite corner by striker Forlan, giving Mark Schwarzer no chance, and putting Atletico 1-0 up.
Judging from Fulham’s European form this season however, they were never likely to sit back and take a beating. And they proved their desire to win on the night, hitting back just four minutes later through a fantastic goal. A great piece of skill from Bobby Zamora saw the Fulham striker turn the last defender and rush towards goal. He overan the ball however, which made its way out to Zoltan Gera. Gera chipped the ball back to the far post, where Simon Davies was waiting to volley it past keeper De Gea.
Intensity dropped in the second half, and both sides were reduced to half chances, and very little opportunities to win the match. Extra time was eventually forced, and Fulham flew out of the traps, taking the initiative early on. However, despite early pressure they were unable to carve out any clear cut chances on goal.
The match was finally won after Sergio Aguero, who had a fantastic night, won the ball down the left side, playing a low cross into the box. Diego Forlan showed terrific strikers instinct to get infront of Brede Hangeland. His touch would have probably been saved by Schwarzer, but the ball deflected off Hangeland, meaning the keeper had no chance.
It proved an unfortunate end to Fulham’s night, and one that will hurt for a long time to come. But no doubt manager Roy Hodgson will pick them up, and ensure they are prepared to fight back next season. In the meantime, Atletico equally deserve praise for a great performance on the night, and will deservedly celebrate being crowned Europa League champions.
Atletico Madrid v Fulham Goals