Fulham, last night had a historic victory against Juventus. They won at Craven Cottage 4 - 1 and 5 - 4 on aggregate. Going into the match I was hoping for a 2 - 0 victory for Fulham that would put them through to the next round. That hope went out the window 2 minutes into the match when Juventus scored. At that point Fulham were forced to score 3 goals just to go to extra time. Fulham took it one step further by scoring 4 goals.
What I like to do is go back and look at my "keys" that I wrote about prior to the match. I like to see how accurate those "keys turned out in the match. Below, I will analyze "My 5 keys to Victory in the Europa League for Fulham against Juventus."
1. If Fulham can score a goal early they can really put the pressure on Juventus. Well since Juventus scored 2 minutes into the match first it did put more pressure on Fulham. At that point the team could have been done before the game really got started. However, Bobby Zamora did score 7 minutes later which was key for the players to know they were still in this match. This early goal in the match I believe did give the team confidence, and probably built momentum for Fulham.
2. If Brede Hangeland cannot play who will take his place? Brede Hangeland was a game time decision and he played the entire match. This was a key Fulham did not have to worry about. I give Hangeland much credit for playing last night with an injury.
3. Who will be in the central midfield for Fulham? I was really worred about this "key" to the match. Without Jonathan Greening and Danny Murphy who was going to play in central midfield? It ended up being Chris Baird and Dickson Etuhu. Both of them did a tremendous job and were very creative. I can admit that I was wrong about these 2 players for the match. I thought if they played in those positions Fulham would be in trouble. I am so glad both of them proved me wrong.
4. Fulham need to do an excellent job defending on set pieces. Fulham, did not have to deal with many set pieces, but they certainly handled them.
5. Fulham's defense needs to contain Diego and Trezequet. Both of these players were involved in the first goal of the match for Juventus. After that initial goal I think Fulham did a decent job on those 2 players. Diego though everytime he touched the ball just scared me. I kept thinking he was going to create another goal. Listen, Juventus being down to 10 men definitely changed the game especially on defense. It doesn't matter though, because Fulham still needed to contain them. Juventus never scored another goal so the defense did their job.
In the end, Fulham played a tremendous match and enjoyed the victory. In all of my "keys to the match" I guess you can say Fulham succeeded in these keys in a very positive manner.