Rodallega helps Fulham down former club Wigan

Premier League, DW Stadium – Wigan Athletic 1 (Kone 90+1) Fulham 2 (Rodallega 31, Duff 68)

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Premier League - Rodallega helps Fulham down former club Wigan
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Fulham's Hugo Rodallega (right) is congratulated by Dimitar Berbatov (centre) on scoring his team's first goal Premier League - Wigan Athletic v Fulham - DW Stadium

Hugo Rodallega scored his first goal for Fulham against his old club as the Cottagers picked up a deserved 2-1 victory against Wigan at the DW Stadium.

The Colombian international headed home a Dimitar Berbatov cross in the first-half to give Fulham the lead and man-of-the-match Damien Duff then put Fulham in charge in the 68th minute after Wigan had missed a couple of guilt edged chances.

Arouna Kone gave Wigan some late hope with a goal in stoppage time but Fulham managed to hang on for the victory.

It was Fulham's first away win of the season and sees them move up to fourth in the Premier League table for a day at least.

Wigan though have just four points from their opening five fixtures and another long relegation battle would appear to be on the cards.

The most entertaining moment in the early stages of the match came in the 15th minute when referee Lee Probert was clattered to the ground as he got sandwiched between Ben Watson and Steve Sidwell as they dived in for the ball. Probert needed treatment but took the incident in good spirits and even gave himself a 'red card' while lying on the ground.

Fulham gave Wigan a couple of warning signs with a spell of pressure around the 20 minute mark when Rodallega and Berabatov both forced Ali Al Habsi into saves while Jean Beausejour also had to clear off the line with a spectacular bicycle kick.

At the other end, Emerson Boyce headed into the side netting in the 26th minute but then just after the half hour mark Fulham had a lead they just about deserved.

Berbatov was the supplier as he hung up a superb cross from Rodallega and the Colombian striker then guided his header into the top corner.

The two had combined in a similar fashion earlier in the half but Wigan did not heed the warning. Rodallega, who was greeted with sporadic boos whenever he touched the ball, celebrated in muted fashion against his former club, despite it being his first goal in a Fulham shirt.

The majority of home fans showed they appreciated Rodallega's efforts in the blue and white later in the day when they gave him a favourable reception when he was subbed near the end.

Wigan dominated possession for the rest of the half but were often wasteful. However, Jordi Gomez did run onto a low Beausejour cross that rolled close to the penalty spot in the 38th minute before firing a fine effort off the underside of the crossbar.

After the break Wigan remained rather limp but they did have two great chances before Fulham doubled their advantage.

First, Kone was played clear through on goal by Shaun Maloney after Fulham were caught in possession. The Ivorian striker outpaced Aaron Hughes but a heavy touch gave Mark Schwarzer just enough time to race out and make the angle tough and the Aussie keeper made a good save when Kone finally pulled the trigger

Wigan's best chance was still to come though in the 66th minute but it wasted by substitute Mauro Boselli. The Argentine striker has found things tough in England since being signed for £6 million two years ago and the way he bundled the ball wide from just 10 yards out after a Schwarzer save had popped up to him will do little to convince fans he is anything other than a busted flush.

Wigan's defending was poor for Duff's goal two minutes later too. A flock of their players surrounded Bryan Ruiz on the edge of the area but the Costa Rican was able to poke it across for the unmarked Duff who drilled a fine strike into the corner of the net.

Once they were 2-0 up Fulham looked relatively comfortable. Schwarzer made a good stop from an Ivan Ramis header but Wigan did not score until stoppage time when Kone was able to turn and shoot from close range after Fulham lazily failed to deal with a blocked shot.

That provided some unexpected late drama and Al Habsi even came up for a late free-kick but Fulham held on for the victory to continue their promising start to the season.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Damien Duff – The Irishman deserved his goal for a superb all around performance. He was always dangerous down the right but his tracking back was equally impressive.

PLAYER RATINGS

WIGAN: Al Habsi 7; Boyce 6 , Ramis 6, Caldwell 5, Figueroa 6; Gomez 6, Watson 7, McCarthy 7, Beausejour 6; Maloney 6, Kone 6. SUBS: Boselli 5, Miyaichi 6, McManaman 6.

FULHAM: Schwarzer 8; Riether 7, Hughes 7, Hangeland 7, Riise 7; Duff 8, Baird 6, Sidwell 7, Kacaniklic 6; Rodallega 7, Berbatov 8. SUBS: Ruiz 7, Briggs 6.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

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