Riise Injured As Fulham Limps Past Dnipro In Europa League Play

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 21: John Arne Riise of Fulham applauds the crowd as he is substituted during the UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between Fulham and Crusaders at Craven Cottage on July 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

It was the worst possible of ways to progress, but Fulham did, in fact, progress.

The Whites are through to the group stage of the Europa League after defeating Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-1 on aggregate following a 1-0 away loss today.

Not only did the Londoners lose, they lost convincingly. 

Dnipro out-shot Fulham 16-3 on the evening, along with an 8-2 advantage in shots on target. Corners were similarly skewed in the hosts favor at 9-4 and possession, if the numbers were available, would assuredly look similar..

So yes, Fulham did achieve the required result. But it was not a result that will leave the players, or fans at that, feeling confident. At least that's from my perspective, Martin Jol's seems to be considerably brighter.

"(Progressing to the group stage) was the target and it was fantastic that we were able to achieve something," he explained. "We wanted to achieve the Group Stages and that's what we did.

"You have to keep the ball and show everybody that you come here for the result. I know that if you're three-nil up and score one goal it's over but we couldn't do that so we had to contain them and fight for the result."

More after the jump.

Adding to Fulham's woes was an injury suffered by John Arne Riise early in the match, the severity of which is currently unknown. Riise was replaced by recently called up England U21 International Matthew Briggs in the 22nd minute.

Dnipro opened their account shortly after Riise was removed when Yevhen Shakhov headed home from close range, finishing off a header sent across the goalmouth off of a corner.

From then on, the Whites backs were against the wall. Patjim Kasami, entering for Moussa Dembele in the second half, had an opportunity to seal the match shortly after coming on when Damien Duff found him open and found him with a sharp pass across the box. The 19-year-old's nerves proved too much however, and he skied his shot over a yawning goal while goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka hopelessly out of position.

The final scoreline now marks three consecutive away matches, including Europa League play, in which Fulham have failed to score a goal. They'll have little time to regroup before this weekend when they hit the road once again, heading north to face an impressive-looking Newcastle side on Sunday.

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