Fulham out after first-half rise and late Fall

FULHAM crashed out of the Europa League last night after a late collapse saw Odense secure a late 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.

The Cottagers started the match knowing victory against Group K’s bottom side would assure progression to the final 32, and they looked on course when Clint Dempsey and Kerim Frei scored.

But a Hans Henrik Andreasen free-kick gave the Danes hope and the west Londoners’ worst fears came true when substitute Djiby Fall scored a last-gasp header three minutes into stoppage time, meaning Wisla Krakow progress instead.

“It was the last cross of the match, so I’m very, very disappointed,” Fulham boss Martin Jol said.

“They scored a goal from a free-kick and the wall was probably not in the right position. We couldn’t get forward, we didn’t do what we did in the first half, it was totally different.

“You have to score a goal and try and get in their half.

“We didn’t do that enough. To give two goals away is very disappointing.”

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was beaten but not bowed after seeing his side lose their unbeaten record and finish in second place in Group E with a 3-1 defeat by Besiktas in Istanbul.

The Potters went into last night’s knowing a draw would be enough to keep them in top spot, and they took the lead completely against the run of play through Ricardo Fuller in the 29th minute.

The game turned when Matthew Upson was shown a red card for bringing down Hugo Almeida in the box and Manuel Fernandes netted a 59th-minute penalty. With a man advantage and the raucous Inonu Stadium crowd in full voice, it seemed only a matter of time before Besiktas took the lead, and the second goal came in the 74th minute from Mustafa Pektemek before fellow substitute Edu added some gloss to the scoreline eight minutes later.

The result was enough to ensure it was Besiktas who won the group, but Pulis, who left all 11 players that had started against Tottenham last weekend at home and brought a squad of only 15, was not downhearted.

He said: “It was a really good performance... we’ve gone down with a bit of glory today.

“Every one of the players who played today has done absolutely fantastic for us and even when we went down to 10 men they just kept working. I was told it was going to be an interesting trip coming to Turkey, and it’s certainly been that. The players handled it well.”

Two Stoke players were apparently hit by objects thrown from the crowd, first Fuller after he had scored and then Jermaine Pennant as he prepared to take a second-half corner.

Pulis, though, insisted they would not report the incident to UEFA, saying: “We won’t be complaining to anyone. We’re Stoke and we don’t complain.”

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