Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fulham’s effort all in vain


Martin Jol was trying to take the positives from his side’s Europa League group stage exit, but the reality is, there are very little.

True, it now means his side are free to concentrate on improving their league position, currently a below par 14th.

But given their participation in the competition began in June and incorporated 14 matches it does seem like a huge waste of time given they are now out of it before Christmas.

But such were the fine margins of the game they were on their way through heading into stoppage time at Craven Cottage.

They were leading 2-1 against Danish side OB Odense, who were already eliminated and as such were outsiders in the football betting.

However, with the final attack of the game Espen Ruud whipped in a cross from the right for Ejiby Fall to head home and grab a dramatic point that sent Fulham crashing out of the competition.

It was a harsh way for the Cottagers to exit, especially since they have shown a real desire to progress in the tournament which is derided in other circles – they still have fond memories of their run to the final in 2010.

"I think it is a big blow but every disadvantage has an advantage," said a defiant Jol. "There were positive things in the first half, like how much we put them under pressure."

It is scant consolation though for Jol, with the club racking up 30 live football games already this season for no tangible reward bar plenty of air miles.

He can only hope that the extra games don’t hinder his side in the second half of the season as performances so far suggest it will be a bumpy ride.

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