In what must rank as the best overall team performance of the season Fulham have reached their first ever European Final thanks to a 2-1 aggregate victory over Hamburg in the Europa League. Fulham have only competed in Europe once before back in 2002-3 season when they won the Intertoto cup and this season had to come through the third qualifying round and a playoff round just to reach the group stage.
German representatives Hamburg had to come from a goal down to take a slender lead into their Europa League quarter-final second leg with Standard Liège.
The Belgian club opened the scoring on 31 minutes via Dieudonne Mbokani nodded home off a corner kick for a 1-0 visitors’ lead before Mladen Petric equalised for Hamburg from the penalty spot on 42 minutes. Ex Manchester United Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy then grabbed the winner to set up a very interesting second leg in Liege on 22nd April.
In the other quarter Final not involving a British club Valencia were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw at home to Atletico Madrid and had David Villa to thank for going into the second leg level as he grabbed their second equaliser late in the second half.