Johnson grabs European win for Fulham

Odense BK 0 Fulham 2

Andrew Johnson scored twice to give Fulham a deserved Europa League victory in Denmark.

Johnson fired home the opener from near the edge of the penalty area after being set up by Clint Dempsey, although his shot should have been saved by Stefan Wessels.

The Odense keeper’s error gifted Johnson his 12th goal in 21 European matches, but there was nothing fortuitous about his 13th – a brilliant finish after beautifully controlling Philippe Senderos’ long ball.

Odense ended the match with 10 men after Kalilou Traore was sent off for a second bookable offence following a reckless challenge on Damien Duff in stoppage time.

Fulham’s win left them in second place in Group K behind FC Twente, whose 4-1 thrashing of Wisla Krakow put the Dutch club top on goal difference.

Schwarzer was impressive in the Fulham goal

Johnson returned after recovering from a virus, but fellow strikers Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele are now ill and missed the game along with deadline-day signing Bryan Ruiz, who was cup-tied having already played in this season’s competition for Twente.

Odense were second best throughout but would have taken an early lead had keeper Mark Schwarzer not pulled off a superb point-blank stop to thwart Djiby Fall, who then acrobatically volleyed wide from ex-Wigan man Andreas Johansson’s cross.

At the other end, Dempsey had a header cleared off the line by former Manchester United and Aston Villa midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba before creating Fulham’s 35th-minute opener.

Dempsey rode two challenges and found Johnson, who cut in from the left and tried his luck with a shot that Wessels allowed to squirm underneath him and into the net.

Fall missed a good chance to equalise before the break when he blazed over from Hans Andreasen’s low cross, and Schwarzer saved well again to deny Bashkim Kadrii early in the second half.

The ever-reliable Schwarzer also produced an 85th-minute save to keep out an effort from Peter Utaka, who had managed to get in front of Senderos far too easily.

It proved to be an important save because Johnson made the points safe for Fulham three minutes later.

Senderos launched the ball forward and after nicely cushioning it on his instep, Johnson curled past the helpless Wessels and into the far corner.

Including the recent Carling Cup defeat against Chelsea, which was settled on penalties, Fulham had drawn their previous five matches.

This victory sets them up nicely for another west London derby, at home to QPR on Sunday, when they will be looking to finally register their first Premier League win under manager Martin Jol.