Fulham sweat on Uefa's travel ruling

Fulham 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Online

Fulham had their minds on Europe, volcanic ash permitting, and Wolves can soon start planning their summer holidays after taking another step towards safety in this forgettable affair.

Assuming they got here, the scouts from Hamburg, Fulham's opponents in Thursday's Europa League semi-final, may have enjoyed their day in the riverside sunshine but they did not see the Fulham who had swept aside Juventus and Wolfsburg. They will have left wondering if Roy Hodgson's team were jaded playing their 56th game of the season, or keeping their powder dry for the big one.

"They were very determined to get a point and a lot of credit has to go to [manager] Mick McCarthy for that," said Hodgson, who chose a strong side missing only Brede Hangeland, whose wife had gone into labour, and the long-term injured. "All the players are anxious to play and there are not many offering to take a day off and give someone else a chance."

Hodgson's main concern is that Uefa will tomorrow rule that Fulham must travel by land and sea to Germany. "I am confident Uefa will deal with it fairly. Hopefully we will fly out."

This was Wolves' fourth game in a row without scoring – with Portsmouth, they have the worst attack in the Premier League – but McCarthy was unapologetic. "That's our style of play," said the manager. "There were no decent chances." In fact his team did not manage an effort on target.

At least there was no lack of commitment, with the Wolves midfielder David Jones twice going off to have his bloody nose cleaned up while Fulham's Aaron Hughes also needing treatment and Bobby Zamora was booked for a first-half foul on Christophe Berra.

The Wolves centre-back, who excelled along with Jody Craddock in defence, was in the wars again soon after the interval when he was caught in the face by Zoltan Gera's forearm. Referee Mike Dean saw nothing wrong in that, and McCarthy offered a rueful smile on the touchline; he's been on the receiving end of a few of those.

Fulham found more urgency after the break and made the better chances. Gera's clever pass sent Damien Duff through on 62 minutes but instead of shooting first time, the Irishman cut inside George Elokobi and the big full-back had the measure of him.

Three minutes later, Zamora lost his marker and struck the post with a fine shot with goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann well beaten. If that was sublime, the ridiculous followed when his free-kick at the death almost ended up in the Thames.

Attendance: 25,597

Referee: Mike Dean

Man of the match: Craddock

Match rating: 4/10

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