Eurosport - Thu, 01 Apr 19:21:00 2010
A clinical performance in front of goal saw Fulham run out 2-1 winners over Wolfsburg in their Europa League clash at Craven Cottage, but Roy Hodgson's side will rue conceding a late goal to give the German champions hope going into the second leg in two weeks' time.
Goals from Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff gave the home side a 2-0 lead, but in the last 10 minutes Fulham looked tired in their 53rd game of the season and conceded a late goal when Alexander Madlung headed in a corner just 90 seconds from time.
Wolfsburg started the match the brighter side, with Simon Davies - who had been pressed into service at right back - being forced to make a clearing header early on with Edin Dzeko lurking with menace.
Dzeko again threatened for the visitors when he pulled away from Brede Hangeland and was picked out fellow Bosnian Zvjezdan Misimovic, only to see the striker snatch at his shot and put it some distance wide.
The home side were limited to shots from distance for much of the opening period, with Clint Dempsey coming closest to beating Diego Benaglio in the Wolfsburg goal, the keeper parrying the American's shot away for a corner at full stretch.
Towards the end of the half, however, they began to penetrate the Wolfsburg defence, with Duff teeing up Dempsey for another crack at goal only to see the shot pulled wide of the near post.
The game burst into life in the second as Wolfsburg threatened the Fulham goal a number of times, with Dzeko putting a free header wide and Grafite firing straight at Mark Schwarzer after going through on goal.
Grafite fluffed another chance soon after and Fulham punished their profligacy when they took the lead just past the hour mark as Zamora latched onto Zoltan Gera's pass and curled a shot into the bottom left hand corner.
That goal was shortly followed by a second as Paul Konchesky fizzed a cross into Zamora's feet, with Fulham's top scorer controlling well and setting up Duff to slot home from 12-yards.
The home side doubled their lead just two minutes later when Konchesky fizzed a first time pass into the feet of Zamora, who controlled well and then rolled the ball into the path of Duff, who slotted home from 12-yards.
Fulham appeared to tire as the game went on and Wolfsburg again had chances to reduce the deficit, but poor finishing from Grafite cost them once again: the Brazilian failed to make Danny Murphy pay for a lax back pass when he shanked a shot wide with Dzeko well placed.
The German side finally got the goal they deserved however, with just 90 seconds of normal time remaining. Misimovic took a quick corner and whipped in a dangerous cross from the left, with Madlung leaping clear of the unprepared defence to power a header past the stranded Schwarzer.
With their tails up Wolfsburg pressed forward for an equaliser, but a tired Fulham hung on and will take a narrow lead into the second leg at the Volkswagen Arena.