Stunned Fulham out of Europa League

Fulham 2 Odense 2

Baye Djiby Fall’s last-gasp goal sent Fulham crashing out of the Europa League in dramatic fashion.

Fall’s header meant Wisla Krakow’s 2-1 victory against FC Twente took the Polish club through to the knockout stage at the expense of Martin Jol’s side, who led 2-0 at half-time

Clint Dempsey slammed in a 27th-minute opener after collecting Bobby Zamora’s lay-off, before Kerim Frei scored the second after good work by Moussa Dembele.

But Hans Henrik Andreasen pulled a goal back for Odense with a free-kick midway through the second half, and Fall’s clinical finish from Espen Ruud’s right-wing cross – the final move of the match – left Craven Cottage stunned.

It was a sickening blow for the 2010 finalists and some of their fans turned on Jol as the Dutchman trudged off the pitch after the final whistle.

Fulham might have sensed it would not be their night when they were twice denied by goal-line clearances during the opening 25 minutes.

The recalled Zamora was effective in the first half but then faded.

First, Brede Hangeland’s header from Frei’s left-wing corner was hacked away by Bashkim Kadrii.

Then Dempsey pounced on a mistake by Daniel Hoegh to latch onto Zamora’s flick-on and lift the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Wessells, only for Ruud to intervene.

But the next time Zamora teed up the American it led to the opening goal.

Frei burst down the left and crossed to Zamora, whose simple but effective touch allowed Dempsey to fire home.

And the impressive Frei got on the scoresheet himself three minutes later.

Dembele was the provider, cutting in from the right and threading through a perfect pass for the 18-year-old, who coolly netted his first senior goal.

Another youngster, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, was handed a debut following news that Mark Schwarzer faces six weeks on the sidelines.

Etheridge produced a good save early in the second half, diving to his right to deny Ruud after the full-back had gone past Matthew Briggs.

But he barely moved as Andreasen’s free-kick found its way through the wall and into the net.

That gave the visitors some encouragement – as did Fulham’s obvious anxiety at the back.

Hangeland and Chris Baird were both culprits, shoddily giving the ball away near the edge of their own penalty area.

Zamora, a notable absentee against Swansea on Saturday, and restored to the side amid persistent reports of a bust-up with Jol, faded from the game and the home team seemed to run out of ideas.

And when they switched off again at the other end, Fall finished off a fine Odense counter-attack – and Fulham’s 14-match Europa League run.

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