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Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
September 15, 2012
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: R. East
• Attendance: 25691
D. Berbatov 32', 45'+
S. Sidwell 89'
West Bromwich Albion
Martin Jol will be very pleased with the way his team controlled the match from the start. A double pivot of Chris Baird and Steve Sidwell replaced Moussa Dembele's dynamism in the centre of the park, but the loss of the Belgian was compensated by the attacking runs of full backs John Arne Riise and Sascha Riether, and the control and intelligence of wingers Alexander Kacaniklic and Damien Duff, as the Cottagers made use of Berbatov's excellent technique up front. West Brom displayed little ambition but appeared composed, until Kacaniklic created the chance for Dimitar Berbatov to expertly fire in the opening goal on his debut. From that point the Baggies lost their nerve, incurring a red card to forward Peter Odemwingie who disgraced himself in kicking out after being dispossessed, and conceding a second after Billy Jones recklessly brought down the impressive Kacaniklic. There was no way back for Steve Clarke's side, despite Romelu Lukaku's best efforts to the lead the line on his own, and he will be left to reflect on his team's first loss of the season.
Full Time at Craven Cottage and it finishes 3-0 to Fulham who have comfortably defeated West Brom.
90' + 3'
Alex Smith attempts to score on his debut with a shot from the edge of the box, but is unsuccessful.
90' + 2'
Debutant Alex Smith helps launch a dangerous attack after appearing late as a substitute, leading to Kasami drifting in from the right flank forcing Foster into a late save.
90' + 1'
Damien Duff is applauded as he goes off to give debutant Alex Smith a chance to enjoy the atmosphere.
Goal Steve Sidwell
Goal Sidwell! Kasami advances down the left flank and his cross almost goes in at the near post but Foster parries to Rodallega. Rodallega's header hits the bar but Sidwell is on hand to lash in the loose ball.
Pajtim Kasami drags his shot wide from a tight angle after latching on to Foster's save from a Rodallega drive.
Foster kicks a long ball up field and Brede Hangeland misjudges the flight of the ball as Billy Jones receives it inside the six yard box. His weak shot from a tight angle is gathered by Schwarzer but McAuley had been looking for the pull back in front of goal.
Joe Doyle at Craven Cottage: "The Fulham fans are up on their feet to applaud as Alex Kacaniklic is replaced by Pajtim Kasami. It's been an outstanding day for the winger, who has given the Baggies right back Billy Jones a torrid time."
Lukaku shows his strength and pace to hold the ball up on the left touchline before crossing to Billy Jones, who had shown great stamina to get up the full length of the pitch in support. Jones headed back across goal towards forward Rosenberg but the ball evaded him and Fulham cleared.
Morrison cuts out Riise's cross preventing it reaching Berbatov.
Foster gathers the ball away from Berbatov who had looked to claim a ball down the left channel.
Kacaniklic receives a through ball from Sidwell as the West Brom defence slides deeper and deeper, but takes a heavy touch and loses the ball as he attempts to create space for a shot.
Fulham menacingly exchange passes on the edge of the West Brom box and the crowd begin to cheer 'Ole' with each move.
Riise advances down the left wing and passes to Rodallega who had dropped off the West Brom defence. Rodallega miscues his shot however and blasts over the bar with his left foot.
Steve Clarke throws on Swedish international forward Markus Rosenberg in place of midfielder Claudio Yacob.
Ridgewell concedes a freekick for a challenge on Damien Duff on the right flank.
Duff expertly drifts between his two markers on the right flank and passes to Rodallega, whose shot again requires Foster to make an acrobatic save after a deflection. The resulting corner is however cleared.
Foster makes a fantastic save to tip over a powerful Damien Duff shot from the right edge of the box that took a big deflection off Berbatov.
Sidwell thumps a powerful swerving shot which Foster can only parry. Duff looks to connect with the rebound but Foster gathers.
Berbatov is offside after attempting a deft run into the left channel for a through ball from Chris Baird.
Fulham's corner is caught by Foster before the ball is promptly distributed to Lukaku. The Belgian does well and shapes up to shoot from the right edge of the box before blasting a low shot with his left foot that is deflected before Schwarzer manages to save.
Rodallega chases a long ball but keeper Foster gathers, before Jones attempts to attack down the right flank but is stopped.
Chris Brunt tries what looks like a shot with an inswinging corner, but Schwarzer gathers comfortably.
Schwarzer is forced to tip over a powerful strike from Chris Brunt from the edge of the box.
Fulham are enjoying this and Sidwell is looking very powerful in midfield, advancing well forward when his team have the ball knowing his opponents have one player fewer in attack.
Berbatov picks the ball up on the edge of the box but ignores the option provided on the left wing on the overlap and shoots over the bar.
Morrison picks up the ball and attempts a through ball to Lukaku looking to counter, but Riether is alert to the danger and wins the ball.
Rodallega is alone in the West Brom box as he does well to control the ball over the top of the defence from Sidwell, holding off Gareth McAuley, but holds onto the ball too long and is tackled by Claudio Yacob who needs treatment following the challenge.
Jonas Olsson heads away a dangerous left wing cross aimed at Hugo Rodallega. It's been all Fulham so far, and Romelu Lukaku is immedietely dispossessed on the half way line as he attempts to hold the ball up.
Steve Clarke takes off forward Fortune, who had played on the right wing, and brings on midfielder Chris Brunt in his place as he attempts to adapt to playing with ten men.
Steve Clarke replaces his lone centre forward, bringing on fresh legs in the form of powerful Romelu Lukaku in place of Shane Long.
The second half gets underway at Craven Cottage.
Pleasing for Fulham supporters however is how Martin Jol has adapted his side to the departure of Moussa Dembele. Deploying a double pivot of midfielders Chris Baird and Steve Sidwell in a defensive role, he has looked to build moves down the flanks and drawn on the invention of Kacaniklic and Damien Duff, while allowing full backs Riise and Riether more influence going forward. It has worked so far.
West Brom had initially seemed composed but after their lack of ambition saw them punished with an opening goal, they seemed unable to adapt to having to chase the game. There seems to be no way back for Steve Clarke's side, two goals and a man down.
Fulham looked by far the more positive side as the first half began, and enjoyed a greater share of possession as they looked to build moves down the flanks before looking for their star signing Dimitar Berbatov.. West Brom looked to be solid defensively, but after right back Sascha Riether gave them some scares with some dangerous crosses, left winger Alexander Kacaniklic carved out the opening with an excellent display of control and vision on the left wing. Berbatov displayed his classic composure to deftly control and finish giving his side the lead, and from then on West Brom imploded. Peter Odemwingie has no excuses for his deserved sending off after lashing out when he was dispossessed, and on the edge of half time Billy Jones lost control of Kacaniklic in the box and rashly brought him down with a sliding challenge.
Joe Doyle from Craven Cottage on the penalty: "West Brom really can't deal with Alex Kacaniklic today. He's absolutely raced down the left wing after another ball over the top, and after getting the ball down, he races past Jones who can only bring him down for a penalty. Berbatov steps up and makes it look simple, sending Foster the wrong way for his second of the day."
45' + 3'
That penalty was the last meaningful act of the half and West Brom now head in to the tunnel to regroup.
45' + 1'
Penalty Goal Dimitar Berbatov
Berbatov converts a superb penalty as he sends Ben Foster diving the wrong way to his right, and slams the ball into the bottom right corner.
45' + 1'
Jones undoes his hard work by recklessly conceding a penalty as Kacaniklic skilfully evades him, going past him on the outside after dashing into the West Brom box.
Billy Jones picks up a knock down from the throw in and runs dangerously into the box.
Aaron Hughes carelessly concedes a throw-in after attempting a long ball to left back John Arne Riise.
A man down, West Brom looked to be waiting for half time but found the strength to build an attack down the left flank, with Yacob helping exchange possession between their forwards.
Kacaniklic finds space on the left wing and aims a neat cross to Berbatov who had dropped off away from the centre backs. Berbatov struggles to get power on his header but it aims dangerously towards the back post but goes wide.
Red Card Peter Odemwingie
Shocking red card for Peter Odemwingie! The forward was dispossessed on the right wing after being surrounded and petulantly kicked out at Riether who had won the ball. He gave the referee no option and now heads to the dressing room after achieving little in the first half.
Berbatov concedes a freekick in front of his box attempting to win the ball. Morrison takes the kick from the left edge of the box and aims for Olsson at the back post. Fulham struggle to clear and it looks frantic but they get the ball away.
West Brom had looked solid in defence but have now suffered from their lack of ambition as Fulham got the first, and now look rattled as they have to chase the game. They are dispossessed twice in quick succession allowing Fulham to attempt to counter.
Assist Alexander Kacaniklic
Goal Dimitar Berbatov
Goal Fulham! Dimitar Berbatov! Left winger Alexander Kacaniklic creates space with his close control as he runs at right back Billy Jones and find Berbatov towards the left edge of the box with a precise pass. The Bulgarian deftly controls the ball with a precise first touch and arrows the ball perfectly into the top right corner.
West Brom get a spell of possession going on the right flank with Morrison and forward Marc-Antoine Fortune combining, but left back Ridgewell eventually loses possession.
West Brom left back Liam RIdgewell advances down the left flank into the box but is dispossessed by Riether.
Youssouf Mulumbu finds right back Billy Jones running on the overlap on the right wing, and his cross proves awkward for centre backs Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland to clear.
Steve Sidwell wins the ball with a robust challenge and feeds Duff, who finds Riether on the overlap. The German gets to the byline inside the box and flashes another dangerous low cross in.
Berbatov neatly picks the ball up between the lines but West Brom see off the attack.
Fulham continue to see more of the ball, and are looking to work the ball between the flanks looking for openings to exploit. West Brom look primed to counter and resolute in defence.
Kacaniklic picks up the ball on the left edge of thebox and passes inside to Hugo Rodallega, who is tackled by Olsson. Rodallega appeals for a penalty but without success.
Riether puts in another excellent cross from the right that curls around the defence and is acrobatically put out by Gareth McAuley for a corner. From the corner centre back Brede Hangeland rises to head on to Berbatov at the near post, but Berbatov's shot is skewed wide across goal.
Riether passes the ball straight to West Brom's Claudio Yacob but his defence deal with the problem.
Alexander Kacaniklic gets down the left wing to put in a low cross which is blocked. Seconds later Berbatov feeds him the ball on the edge of the box but his attempt to break through the defence sees the ball go out for a goal kick.
Fulham pass the ball down the right wing to Berbatov but the Bulgarian is unable to control and the ball runs out for a throw in.
Duff's left footed delivery is terribly overhit and sails over all his teammates in the box.
Damien Duff wins a free kick on the right flank from Liam Ridgwell.
Morrison takes the corner aiming for centre back Jonas Olsson but the Fulham defence clear.
West Brom grow in confidence and exchange passes on the edge of the Fulham box. James Morrison finished the move with a shot that stings the palms of keeper Mark Schwarzer for a corner.
Riether draws a cheer from the crowd as he cuts inside the and wins a free kick.
Chris Baird finds Dimitar Berbatov on the edge of the box, but the Bulgarian is unable to control the ball and work a chance.
Fulham probe the Baggies defence and get some luck in doing so when Mulumbu's attempted clearance rebounds off Billy Jones for a Fulham throw in.
Fulham are retaining possession at the start of the match, as they keep the ball between them in their own half.
Fulham right back Sascha Riether whips in a dangerous cross from the right wing but it is dealt with by the West Brom defence.
And the game at Craven Cottage is underway!
Stat attack - Fulham unbeaten in last five PL games at Craven Cottage - last loss 3-0 to Swansea. Joe Doyle at Craven Cottage: "Fulham have won 5 of 6 previous Craven Cottage games against West Brom, keeping clean sheets in four of them. The last game was a 1-1 draw, with both goalscorers (Clint Dempsey and Somen Tchoyi) no longer at the clubs."
Joe Doyle Live at Craven Cottage: "Dimitar Berbatov makes his home debut for Fulham alongside Hugo Rodallega in an attacking lineup from Martin Jol. New signing Giorgos Karagounis makes an appearance on the substitutes' bench, while Chris Baird is forced into the centre of midfield alongside Steve Sidwell. For West Brom, there is one change following their 2-0 defeat of Everton, with Billy Jones coming into the side at right-back in place of Steven Reid.
West Brom: Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Mulumbu, Yacob; Odemwingie, Morrison, Fortune; Long. Subs: Myhill, Gera, Dorrans, Lukaku, Rosenberg, Dawson, Brunt.
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Baird, Sidwell, Kacaniklic; Rodallega, Berbatov. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Kasami, Karagounis, Briggs, Trotta, Smith.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of Fulham v West Brom at Craven Cottage. I'm Arthur Virgo, here to talk through the game's events!
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