Home / Europa League / The night Fulham stunned the Old Lady! 10 years ago, Juventus were humbled in classic Europa tie

The night Fulham stunned the Old Lady! 10 years ago, Juventus were humbled in classic Europa tie

It was a night when Roy Hodgson cast aside his usual English reserve and dived in for the hugs rather than the firm congratulatory handshakes.

‘We should just do a Rocky Marciano and retire now,’ beamed Hodgson when he came up for air. ‘It’s not going to get better than this. It must be the greatest night in the club’s history. I’m on top of the world.’

Ten years have passed since his Fulham side fought back to topple the mighty Juventus amid raucous scenes of jubilation beside the Thames and move into the last eight of the Europa League.

Ten years have passed since Fulham fought back to topple Juventus in the Europa League

Clint Dempsey scored the winning goal after coming on as a late second-half substitute

Clint Dempsey scored the winning goal after coming on as a late second-half substitute

For a former Inter Milan manager like Hodgson, there was another layer of pride as he addressed the exhausted players who simply refused to accept defeat, not even when they trailed 4-1 to the Old Lady of Italian football.

Zoltan Gera, scorer of two goals in the second leg at Craven Cottage, had broken down in tears in the dressing room. Clint Dempsey was still hyped up by the thrill of climbing off the bench to chip in the winner with eight minutes remaining.

‘I didn’t want it to end, I can still remember thinking I wanted it to go into extra-time,’ says Bobby Zamora, who scored Fulham’s first of an epic night. ‘The game was only going one way from the moment of the sending off (Fabio Cannavaro in the 27th minute). It knocked them for six. We had them where we wanted them and you could see it in their eyes. By the end, they were arguing among themselves.’

Fabio Capello was in the crowd and referred to the Juventus game when he later called Zamora into his England squad.

It was a night when perceptions were changed and reputations enhanced. Hodgson was named Liverpool manager later that year and Arsenal spent the summer chasing keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Zoltan Gera (left) broke down in tears in the dressing room as Fulham celebrated their win

 Zoltan Gera (left) broke down in tears in the dressing room as Fulham celebrated their win

A night where reputations were enhanced with Roy Hodgson later becoming Liverpool boss

A night where reputations were enhanced with Roy Hodgson later becoming Liverpool boss

Fulham had appeared doomed for the drop when Hodgson arrived in December 2007. Yet they survived on goal difference, finished seventh the following year and launched a Europa League campaign in Lithuania in July, followed by a trip to Perm in Siberia.

In the semi-finals, they were forced to travel to Hamburg by boat for the first leg because of the ash cloud caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland, and Zamora and Andy Johnson were among the players who broke the tedium of a traffic jam in northern Germany by climbing from the bus for an impromptu game of keepy-uppy in the road.

Fulham played 19 games in the Europa League, returning to Hamburg for the final where they were beaten by a deflected Diego Forlan goal in extra-time against Atletico Madrid.

Zamora said: ‘Shakhtar Donetsk was the game I realised we were in a competition with world-class talent. At the time, I don’t think anybody paid too much attention to the Europa League. It didn’t have the clout it has now with a Champions League place at stake.

‘Shakhtar were an unbelievable team. They were something special and now we know them well because it was Willian, Fernandinho, Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano.’

Fulham beat Shakhtar in the first round of the knockout phase with the help of a screamer by Zamora and set up the tie with Juventus in the last 16.

This was not vintage Juve, but they did boast World Cup winners Cannavaro, Alessandro del Piero and David Trezeguet. The Italians won 3-1 in Turin and Trezeguet struck in the second minute at Craven Cottage. ‘We never gave up,’ says Schwarzer. ‘We weren’t a team of stars but we had lots of experience. More importantly, in those first two years under Roy, we had a real determination to prove people wrong.

Gera produced an acrobatic celebration as his side stunned the mighty Italians at home

Gera produced an acrobatic celebration as his side stunned the mighty Italians at home

The midfielder's second half penalty drew his side level before they went on to claim victory

The midfielder’s second half penalty drew his side level before they went on to claim victory

MATCH FACTS: 

EUROPA LEAGUE LEAGUE LAST 16, SECOND LEG, MARCH 18 2010

FULHAM (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Kelly

(Dempsey 71min), Hangeland, Hughes,

Konchesky; Davies, Baird, Etuhu, Duff;

Gera (BH Riise 85); Zamora 

Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Smalling, Dikgacoi, Marsh-Brown, Nevland. Booked: Konchesky

Scorers: Zamora 9, Gera 39, 49 pen, Dempsey 82.

Manager: Roy Hodgson

JUVENTUS (4-3-3): Chimenti; Salihamidzic, Cannavaro, Zebina,

Grosso (Del Piero 85); Camoranesi

(De Ceglie 52), Melo, Sissoko; Candreva (Grygera 28), Trezeguet, Diego

Subs not used: Pinsoglio, Poulsen, Marrone, Iaquinta 

Booked: Camoranesi, Diego, Melo 

Sent off: Cannavaro, Zebina.

Scorer: Trezeguet 2

Manager: Alberto Zaccheroni

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Hol)

Attendance: 23,458. 

Final score: Fulham 4-1 Juventus (Fulham win 5-4 on aggregate) 

‘There was nothing to lose. Fulham were nobody in comparison to Juventus and we had such a strong belief, especially at home. We knew if we could get back into the game, the crowd would lift us.’

Schwarzer draws a parallel with his experience at Middlesbrough, when the run to the 2006 UEFA Cup final featured classic second-leg comebacks against Steaua Bucharest and Basle.

‘In England, when the momentum turns and the crowd is close to the pitch, the pressure can make a difference against some continental teams,’ says the Aussie keeper. ‘It was electric at the Cottage and teams couldn’t handle it, even a Juventus team with world-class players.’

Zamora levelled on the night before Cannavaro was sent off for a professional foul on Gera, who scored Fulham’s second. Juventus were creaking. Fulham rattled the woodwork twice and 39-year-old third-choice keeper Antonio Chimenti produced a magnificent save to deny Zamora from a free-kick.

At the interval, still trailing by one goal in the tie, Hodgson ordered his team to, ‘Go out and win the second half’. Gera coolly converted a penalty after a handball by Diego and Dempsey chipped Chimenti from an angle for the decisive goal.

‘It was surreal, the whole place was going crazy,’ says Schwarzer. ‘It goes down as one of the greatest nights in the history of the club. They are memories that stay with you for ever. You wonder if those nights will ever be repeated for clubs like Fulham and Boro. I do hope so. It was amazing.’

Hodgson's team had a desire to prove people wrong and produced a memorable performance

Hodgson’s team had a desire to prove people wrong and produced a memorable performance

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