Dempsey bags brace in easy Fulham win

Fulham 3 Dnipro 0

Fulham are on course for the Europa League after a one-sided qualifying play-off first leg at Craven Cottage.

Clint Dempsey scored twice and Aaron Hughes also found the net, ensuring the Whites will go into the second leg in Ukraine in a commanding position.

Another major plus for boss Martin Jol was the performance of youngster Matthew Briggs, who produced an excellent display at left-back to enhance his growing reputation.

Jol rested a number of players, with John Arne Riise, Moussa Dembele and Andy Johnson among the substitutes.

But the Premier League side were comfortable throughout and could have won by an even bigger margin.

Dnipro frustrated them for much of the first half but two goals in the space of four minutes sent Jol’s team in at the break 2-0 up and very much in the driving seat.

Briggs did well on the left and crossed for Hughes to divert the ball into the net, before Steve Sidwell picked out an unmarked Dempsey, who fired past goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka to double the lead.

And Dempsey struck again four minutes into the second half, heading home at the far post from summer signing Pajtim Kasami’s cross.

Hughes came close to scoring his second when he headed against the bar, before Bobby Zamora missed a late chance by heading Stephen Kelly’s right-wing cross wide of the target.