Johnson too hot for RNK

Fulham 2 RNK Split 0 (Fulham win 2-0 on aggregate) 

Andrew Johnson inspired Fulham to a victory that took them into the Europa League qualifying play-off stage.

Johnson scored their all-important first goal and won a second-half penalty, which Danny Murphy converted to see off an RNK Split side that caused the Whites plenty of problems in last week’s goalless first leg.

Fulham endured a nervy beginning to that encounter in Croatia, but this time were on top from the start and took only 18 minutes to score the opener.

It came when Johnson, who has been linked with a move to West Ham, met Damien Duff’s right-wing corner with a glancing header into the net.

Duff had gone close to scoring himself when he steered Murphy’s early free-kick wide of the near post.

Johnson’s tidy finish came as no surprise as it had seemed only a matter of time before Fulham found the target. And shortly after they did, Clint Dempsey almost marked his return with their second goal.

The American, making his first start of the campaign, weaved his way past two defenders on the edge of the penalty area before steering a right-footed effort narrowly wide.

Johnson headed home from Duff's first-half corner

But there was no escape for RNK 11 minutes into the second half, when Fulham were awarded a penalty after Johnson cut in from the right and was tripped by defender Velimir Vidic.

Murphy made no mistake from the spot, calmly sending goalkeeper Andrija Vukovic the wrong way to put Martin Jol’s men firmly in command.

Fulham then switched off at a set-piece, allowing Goran Milovic space to try his luck with a left-footed effort which struck the post.

That seemed to galvanise the visitors and Fulham were forced to withstand a spell of pressure.

Right-back Flip Marcic sprinted down the flank and picked out Duje Cop, whose first-time effort was comfortably saved by Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham’s keeper was tested again moments later and again did his job, scrambling to his right to keep out Romano Obilinovic’s shot.

Schwarzer produced his best save of the night with three minutes remaining, when he pushed away Predrag Simoc’s 25-yard curler.