3-1 in the first leg in Italy against a strong Juventus side. Surely Fulham was on the verge of being knocked out of the Europa League that day in 2010?
Fulham fans who made up the majority of Craven Cottage’s 23,458 spectators that night must have thought it would be nice to be there to see their team take on the European giants. Juve had won the Serie A title 27 times and won the European Cup twice in their history. The last time Juve won the Champions League was in 1995/96, the season Fulham finished 17th in the fourth tier of English football.
Juventus got off to the best possible start, with David Trezeguet scoring in the opening minutes. Fulham now had to keep a clean sheet and score three goals to lead the game in overtime, or four goals to win the game.
Bobby Zamora equalized in the 9th minute, crushing a cross before shooting low into the bottom corner. The home side were then helped further when formidable Juve defender Fabio Cannavaro received a red card after 26 minutes. Only two goals needed and Juve to ten men. Fulham fans dared to believe!
Six minutes before the break, Fulham’s Zoltan Gera scored with a tap-in from close range. Only one goal was now needed to bring the game to Extra Time and Fulham fans urged their team to keep going.
Fulham was awarded a penalty just two minutes after the restart after Damien Duff’s cross attempt hit a Juve defender’s arm. The referee pointed directly at the spot and Zoltan Gera made no mistake on the spot for his second goal of the match.
Clint Dempsey won the game for Fulham in the 82nd minute with a perfect chip from the edge of the box. I wrote about this goal in the ‘Greatest Goals in Football’ series and you can read more by clicking here.
The victory put Fulham in the semi-finals, where they beat Hamburg 2-1 on aggregate. They returned to Hamburg for the final against Athletico Madrid, but lost 2-1 after extra time. The Juventus game was the game their fans remember the most and was definitely unexpected!
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