Deflating Dzeko goal leaves Fulham pointless - Fulham 1-2 Man City

Chris Brunskill - Getty Images

A goal at the death from substitute Edin Dzeko gave City the points in what was a well-fought match.

Perhaps it was a little far-fetched to think that we could surpass the champions of England without the likes of the injured Dimitar Berbatov or the now departed Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele. We can take some solace, though, in that we pushed Manchester City to their very limits and in some distinct moments, had them particularly worried.

In the end, however, a lapse in concentration from the usually reputable John Arne Riise cost Fulham here and, while it was only a point lost, it was one we could justifiably feel was deserved because, while Roberto Mancini's side attacked with some quite great fluency, we were equally strong and somewhat more resilient.

We lead for much of the first half but you'd be hard pushed to see why. A softly awarded penalty allowed Mladen Petric to add to his already significant tally and the home side managed to hold onto that lead right up until the cusp of half time.

That didn't come without hard graft, though, and in truth, Fulham's goal was leading a charmed life. Mark Schwarzer clawed a ball out that could so easily have crossed the line, and also palmed away a strong David Silva strike. Brede Hangeland was in action too, clearing a deadly, driven cross from Pablo Zabaleta.

Martin Jol's men had chances too, though, Riise's free-kick perhaps proving the most threatening. From 35 yards out, he forced Joe Hart into a fine save.

Carlos Tevez showed his frustration at City's lack of penetration, confronting Riise after he felt he had been felled. If anything, though, the Argentine was the perpetrator here.

Soon, though, his team were level pegging and it was Sergio Aguero who provided the final touch. Again, Schwarzer was called into action but this time he could only parry a Silva effort into the path of City's forward, and he wasn't about to let the opportunity go.

Parity was a fair reflection on a half where City were perhaps more positive but Fulham were, by some distance, firmer.

Hangeland came close to returning the lead to Fulham after the break but, after that, it was a matter of containment for the home side and they were doing a fine job. Schwarzer was again heroic and Aaron Hughes in particular was dogged and effective in equal measure.

Bryan Ruiz, taking the place of Hugo Rodallega who was out on the wing, was not as creatively influential as he would have liked to have been and drifted in and out of the game with alarming regularity. Rodallega, not in his favoured role, looked over-awed by the occasion.

And so the away side continued to press and the game plan of both managers became clear with the introduction of City's Balotelli and the withdrawal of Fulham's Petric. Jol was happy with a point.

It wasn't to be, though, and it was another substitute, Edin Dzeko, that dealt the final blow. He was only on the field for a matter of seconds but latched on to a loose Riise ball, firing beyond Fulham's Australian stopper.

By no means unflattering but deflating nonetheless.

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