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FA Cup

  • January 5, 2013
  • • 10:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 14473
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Fulham 1-1 Blackpool: Karagounis keeps Cottagers in the cup

Fulham 1-1 Blackpool: Karagounis keeps Cottagers in the cup

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After Ludovic Sylvestre opened the scoring for the Championship outfit, the Greek international averted an upset with a stunning effort as a replay beckons for both sides

A fine effort from Giorgos Karagounis was not enough to earn Fulham a win against Blackpool as a 60th minute strike from Ludovic Sylvestrewas enough to consign the Cottagers to a replay against the Championship outfit.

After a goalless and relatively chance-free, first half, Sylvestre opened the scoring with a right-footed strike from the edge of the area, as Fulham appealed vehemently, and unsuccessfully, for a handball against Kevin Phillips.

Karagounis spared the Premier League side's blushes with a stunning finish from the edge of the area before Bryan Ruiz almost won it right before the death, only for his header to be cruelly denied by the crossbar.

Jol decided to forgo rotation as he made no changes to the side that beat West Brom 2-1, meaning the Blackpool defense had to contend with the dual threat of Bryan Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov all afternoon.

Perversely, the Championship outfit was the team that rang the changes, as it brought in Bob Harris, Kevin Phillips, and Nathan Delfouneso with Stephen Crainey, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, and Wes Thomas all departing from the side that drew 0-0 to in-form Hull earlier this week.

After a fairly even, albeit fairly eventless, start, the first clear-cut chance fell to to Blackpool's Thomas Ince; after good work from Chris Basham down the left, the diminutive winger fired at goal from ten yards out but David Stockdale was equal to his effort.

Fulham started to assert themselves on the game with the twenty minute mark approaching, as two chances fell to the Premier League side in quick succession; Bryan Ruiz first forcing a good save from Matt Gilks from a free-kick and Dejagah then spurning a chance after good wingplay from Alex Kacaniklic.

In spite of the Cottager's mounting pressure, the next chance fell again to Thomas Ince, who tested Stockdale with a powerful right-footed effort but, once again, the Fulham goalkeeper produced a good save to keep the tie goalless.

From then on, the game evened out with half-chances falling to either side, Phillips and Briggs missing chances for both teams before the interval.

The second-half carried on much in the same vein up until the 60thminute when, controversially, the away side took the lead. With Fulham still appealing for a handball from Phillips, Delfouneso attacked down the left, cut inside and laid the ball off to Ludovic Sylvestre. The Blackpool midfielder made no mistake in finishing from just outside the area, striking into the bottom corner with zest.

With Fulham struggling to mount a potent response to the goal, Blackpool still seemed more likely to score as Tom Ince very nearly managed to get himself on the end of a dangerous Eardley cross.

It took Fulham until the 80thminute to finally respond accordingly to the one goal deficit, but it did it in some style as Giorgios Karagounis levelled proceedings with a stunning effort. The Greek international picked the ball up on the right flank before cutting on to his left foot and curling a fine finish over the helpless Gilks to cancel out Sylvestre's earlier effort.

Fulham's Premier League status began to tell following the goal as Kieran Richardson went mightily close with a right-footed effort; after cutting in from the left flank, he dragged the ball just wide with five minutes remaining.

Bryan Ruiz went even closer two minutes later as, following a cross from Frei, his stooping header flew past the goalkeeper but was denied by the crossbar as, ultimately, the Cottagers were unable to capitalize on their pressure as they prepared for the imminent replay.

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