Fulham came away with an impressive 1-0 win as Dimitar Berbatov scored against his former team and slayed Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
Spurs were beaten in UEFA Europa League action on Thursday against Inter Milan and slipped to defeat again thanks to a jaded performance in the Premier League.
Fulham should be proud of a very good result which came when Berbatov rifled in on the 52nd minute.
It was Tottenham who had the clearest chance of the first half, and in came in the seventh minute. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner was headed towards goal by Gareth Bale, but Sascha Reither quickly cleared off of the goal-line.
It was the only real chance of a poor first half, with both sides failing to create opportunities. Tottenham looked tired, while Fulham were happy to have the play happen in front of their penalty area and it was the supporters who suffered through a really uneventful first half.
That’s why everyone was happy to see such a fast-paced second half with both teams trying to win the game. Bale was the man everyone was waiting for to change the game, and he should have done better when he fired well over from 18 yards. It was a wasted chance and Spurs were punished just 30 seconds later.
Reither led the counter-attack and got to the byline before pulling the ball across for Berbatov, and the striker, who scored 27 goals over a two year spell at Spurs, elegantly finished into the bottom corner to give Fulham a shock lead.
Just five minutes later, Fulham would come close to adding to the lead on two occasions. First, Steve Sidwell was unlucky to see his deflected shot be kept out by Hugo Lloris when it could have needed up anywhere. Then, Brede Hangeland should have made it 2-0. Bryan Ruiz won a flick on the front post that flew across goal and fell to the centre-back, but the tall defender nodded the ball wide with the goal gaping.
Tottenham needed someone to take the game by the scruff of its neck and Andre Villas-Boas saw this and decided that Jermain Defoe was the answer from the substitute’s bench. The former Portsmouth striker was unlucky when his snap-shot was well saved by Mark Schwarzer.
Just after, Ruiz dinked the ball across to the back post and Ashkan Degajah decided to head back across goal, when he should have put the ball in the empty net. It was a poor decision and put a lot of pressure on Martin Jol’s side to hold on to the result.
They did manage to hold on to the result, partly in thanks to a wonderful piece of goalkeeping. Bale played it low across the box and Defoe slid in, sending the ball towards goal but Schwarzer managed to keep a hand stretched and push the ball away from four yards away. It was great reflex from the aging shot-stopper and it managed to give Fulham an impressive victory.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Kyle Dixon