Hamburg held after Fulham park the bus

After spending 17 hours on a bus, Fulham parked it right in front of their goal in a 0-0 draw with Hamburg in their Europa League semi-final.

Last Updated: 22/04/10 at 22:45 Post Comment

Murphy: Draws comfort from stalemate

Murphy: Draws comfort from stalemate

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Although the German hosts dominated possession in Thursday night's first leg at the Nordbank Arena, they never really looked like breaking through until a late flurry.

The two sides will reconvene in a week's time at Craven Cottage with Roy Hodgson's men hopeful of getting the win that would seal a first European final.

There is still work to do of course, and Ruud van Nistelrooy must be kept quiet by a defence that will lack the suspended Chris Baird, but there was enough evidence to suggest Fulham's 18th match in a European campaign that began in Lithuania nine months ago will not be their last.

Hamburg were a force three decades ago, when they were powerful enough to lure Kevin Keegan away from Liverpool and then win the European Cup in 1983.

Those days are long gone. Hamburg can still attract big-name forwards, but even van Nistelrooy would accept his best days are behind him.

Not that the former Manchester United star has lost his eye for goal, it is just that the pace he did have has been reduced still further.

Time was when he would have held Aaron Hughes off and snaffled the opportunity that came his way after barely a minute.

This time the Fulham defender was quick enough to react and nudge van Nistelrooy aside, allowing Mark Schwarzer to quell the danger.

It was the start of a one-sided opening period in terms of possession.

Yet, as Barcelona found out 48 hours earlier, possession does not mean much if it cannot be turned into goals.

Hamburg's attacks got less frequent as the half wore on.

Paolo Guerrero failed to take the best chance that came his way, and when Jonathan Pitroipa got to the byline, instead of cutting the ball back to an expectant team-mate, he rolled it straight through to Schwarzer.

That the Fulham goalkeeper was underemployed was largely due to the efforts of a watertight defence, marshalled superbly by Hughes and Brede Hangeland, and the screening midfield talents of Danny Murphy.

It might not have been the greatest spectacle but the hardy 1,000 or so Fulham fans who had made it to northern Germany for one of the most fabulous nights in their club's history were not fussed about that as Hamburg continued in vain to look for an opener.

After giving the impression of not quite being fit all evening, Fulham's 19-goal talisman Bobby Zamora eventually ambled off seven minutes after the restart without so much as having a shot with which to mark the occasion.

Zamora's exit raised inevitable question marks about the journey, which Hamburg will not have to undergo themselves.

Still, after shrugging aside Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg in the knockout section of the competition alone, Fulham are unlikely to let that spoil the party.

And if David Jarolim had not stretched out to intercept a Zoltan Gera cross bound for Zamora's replacement Clint Dempsey on the hour, the Cottagers would have been in dreamland.

Hamburg responded with their most productive spell of the game.

Pitroipa, Piotr Trochowski and Jarolim all scorched Schwarzer's fingers to various degrees as Fulham finally showed signs of collective weariness before Mladen Petric nearly found the target at the end.

The tie remained goalless though, which will make Craven Cottage one pretty fine place to be for the return.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Thursday, 19 March 2015
20:05
Ajax 2-1 Dnipro  
Besiktas 1-3 Club Brugge  
Inter 1-2 Wolfsburg  
Sevilla 2-1 Villarreal  
Torino 1-0 Zenit  
18:00
Dynamo Kiev 5-2 Everton Report
Roma 0-3 Fiorentina  
17:00
D Moscow 0-0 Napoli  
Thursday, 12 March 2015
20:05
Everton 2-1 Dynamo Kiev Report
Fiorentina 1-1 Roma  

Footer 365

European Qualifiers round-up: Wins for Germany, Portugal and Romania

Goals from Marco Reus and Thomas Muller gave Germany victory over Georgia while Portugal beat Serbia to go top of Group I.

Luis Suarez rules out joining any English club but Liverpool

Luis Suarez refused to rule out a return to Liverpool and insists he will never play for another Premier League club.

Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar: Steven Fletcher scores hat-trick in European Qualifier

Gibraltar scored their first competitive goal, but Steven Fletcher's hat-trick helped Scotland win 6-1 at Hampden Park.

Mail Box

FA Refusing To Learn From Germany

We have a postcard from Germany in the Mailbox highlighting how Greg Dyke's quick-fix approach is all wrong. Also, the clamour for Kane, and size matters, apparently...

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company