Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Fulham 1 - 1 Manchester City

I made the mistake of going into the Eight Bells before this match, which was awash with Man City fans. The owner of the pub is a Chelsea fan, so apparently it is a renowned away fans pub. The City fans were in good voice considering the early kick off, although there were some shameful references to 'Munichs'. They had also developed a song in Portuguese to laud the Brazilians players at City and were handing out little yellow song sheets to all the fans so they could learn it for the game. Shame that City didn't end up fielding any Brazilians after all!
Yet another game to add to the unbeaten home run. And Fulham should really have beaten Man City. They were undone early in the game by good work on the right wing by Pablo Zabaleta and Benjani managing to spring up between two defenders and easily plant a header past Mark Schwarzer. It really was simple stuff and felt a bit like a sucker punch after all Fulham's good initial play.
Fortunately the team pulled it back before half time, with seemingly want away midfielder Jimmy Bullard scoring his first league goal of the season - and what a sweet finish it was too. Reacting to a terrific pass from Bobby 'Bobatov' Zamora, Jimmy swept the ball into the far post from the side of the six yard box. A well deserved goal for a player who has gradually played himself into a bit of form.
Zamora was a pest throughout this game and really ought to have scored after latching on to a poor header back to the keeper, but headed it wide. It is not to say City didn't have their chances. Frequently Zabaleta (who I had actually met the week before) found himself in plenty of room on the right wing, but opted to cross several times. The one time he did have a shot, Schwarzer parried it out and there was chaos inside the Fulham box.
City's captain Richard Dunne, who has flattered to deceive this season after several barnstorming performances last year, was very lucky not to give away a penalty for handball - pushing away an Andy Johnson flick with his hand. It was entirely instinctive, but still handball in the area.
Shot (and save) of the day though had to be Bullard's free kick in the last ten minutes or so, which swerved and dipped several times before Joe Hart acrobatically pushed it over the bar. In the end, everyone came away more or less happy with a point.

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