Fulham held to draw by FC Twente

Fulham 1 FC Twente 1

A fortuitous equaliser denied Fulham a winning start to their Europa League group campaign.

The Whites took a 19th-minute lead when Andrew Johnson pounced after a defensive mistake, but they were pegged back by Luuk de Jong’s header, which went in off luckless keeper Mark Schwarzer.

It was a frustrating night for Martin Jol’s side, who created more chances than their Dutch opponents, although FC Twente always looked a threat on the counter attack.

Fulham were gifted the opening goal by Dwight Tiendalli’s careless ball across his own penalty area which was intercepted by Johnson, who breezed past Peter Wisgerhof before slotting into the bottom corner.

Twente responded strongly and Schwarzer had to be alert to keep out de Jong’s header and Willem Janssen’s right-footed shot.

But he could not prevent the visitors levelling six minutes before half-time.

Steve Sidwell was unable to clear Roberto Rosales’ right-wing cross and de Jong met it with a header that found the net via the post and then the diving Schwarzer’s back.

Early in the second half, Clint Dempsey headed wide before Twente keeper Nikolay Mihaylov produced an impressive point-blank save from Johnson.

That prompted Jol to send on Bobby Zamora in place of Johnson in an effort to find the elusive second goal.

Jol had decided not to start with Zamora, who recently recovered from an ankle injury, saving him for this weekend’s league game against Manchester City.

The manager was unable to select deadline-day signing Bryan Ruiz against the club that recently sold him, as the forward was cup-tied having already played in the tournament for Twente this season.

With Aaron Hughes sidelined, Jol gave a debut to another pre-deadline signing, Zdenek Grygera, at right-back, while Pajtim Kasami started in midfield.

Kasami’s final contribution before being replaced by Damien Duff was a right-wing cross that was too high for Sidwell to connect properly with – as had been the case in the build up to Twente’s equaliser.

Even Duff’s introduction failed to give Fulham the spark they needed. In fact, Twente came close to stealing victory when Rosales’ late drive flashed narrowly wide.