Dnipro 1-0 Fulham

Funny how you can look at the same thing in different ways. Last Thursday at the Cottage Clint Dempsey headed a third and there we were thinking ‘that’s nice’ and dreaming ahead to where we might end up in the group stages. Then tonight the same two teams had it out in Ukraine and Fulham can thank their lucky stars that they didn’t lose the tie.

They should have. Dnipro spent most of the game circulating around the Fulham box, free-kick after free-kick whizzing in then landing somewhere not quite dangerous. Chances came, were snatched at or blocked or something else, and in the end Fulham finished with as one sided a 1-0 defeat as you’ll see. Pajtim Kasami might have equalised on the break late on, skying his chance in front of an empty net (to be fair, he was on the run and the ball was moving across him, but he should have scored), but other than that we offered very little.

Dnipro were a bit unfortunate in the first leg, too, a fair flurry of activity almost bagging an away goal.  Here was different, in that they kept the ball well and had no problem pinning Fulham back.  The goal came from a corner, Hangeland heading on at the near-post, a forward stealing in between Hughes and the goal-line to score.  It’s the sort of goal we used to concede when John Paintsil was around – not sure what the excuse is this time.

I suppose you can look at that pressure and the slim defeat and judge that the team defended well, and perhaps there’s something to that, but this was a far from impressive performance.  It’s tempting to say ‘job done and let’s move on’, except the job is only done if we accept that the team has more in its locker for when we play the better teams. On current evidence it’s hard to know what to think about that.

14 thoughts on “Dnipro 1-0 Fulham

    1. I’d have played Dickson up front and told him to get amongst them, hold the ball up and play it short. He could’ve done that. I think. That soudns like the sort of thing a moron might type, but here I am…

  1. If it’s any consolation, this was a very similar tie to the play-off round last time we were in Europa.

    Tough, Eastern European side.

    Home leg we score 3, away leg we lose 1-0 and could have gone out but didn’t. Against Amkar Perm it was 3-1 at home, so we were only 1 goal away from going out. Tonight, we were two goals away from extra time.

    1. (And who scored the only goal Rangers could manage at Ibrox in a match where they had to attack, trailing 2-1 after the first leg? It was that man Charlie Blackmouth. Bet you ten bucks he headed in from a corner.)

    1. Well according to one report, Hughes was a shining star, back in his central position, so maybe Jol will keep him there and put Bairdinho at right back.

  2. The team looks very tired and old to me. No zip or pace. Organised reasonably well but moving forward it’s all terribly ponderous and predictable.

    A week to put things right. I don’t doubt that Jol can see what’s wrong as well as us and hope he knows better than us how to put things right.

    This team without improvement will be lucky not to be relegated.

  3. I suspect that Jol is asking the players to do some things differently in the same way Hughes did at the start of last season. This combined with a couple of injuries and a couple of selection mistakes has led to us looking somewhat out of whack.

    I think either Jol will reassess what he’s asking them to do and go back to basics in the same way Hughes did or he’ll bring in new players who are more comfortable with the way he wants to play.

    In other words, no need to panic, we just need to give the man a little time to get us organised again.

    1. I’m very much in the camp with this logic right now. Ask me again at the end of September, and again at the end of October, and I may have a different response.

  4. To be fair to Dinipro I think they were better at Craven Cottage than the 3-0 suggested. They failed to finish on more than one occasion so the fact that we were under pressure did not surprise me. However I agree with Tony that the team looks tired and for some reason VERY slow?

    It feels like all the confidence going forward has evaporated and the players have resorted to trying not to lose rather than getting caught out. Wish we had a home game this week to will them to come forward to show their undoubted ability. I fear for the Newcastle game, tired, battle weary and low in confidence. We need a Baird/Stoke talisman moment. Hey Ho, never a dull moment eh?

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