FULHAM 4 Zamora 9, Gera 39, 49(p), Dempsey 82
This game should have been routine for Juventus, but, with its domestic form being as it is, the Bianconeri’s confidence was at an all time low. However, it did not seem this way at the start of the match as Juve came out aggressively and David Trezeguet scored in just the second minute. This seemed to be enough for the Bianconeri to go on to progress in this competition, but Fulham had something else in mind and kept putting pressure on the Old Lady hoping that the team would slip up. Fulham reacted well when, with five minutes gone, a shot on goal went across the face of the Juve goal, but the Cottagers didn’t have to wait long because, on nine minutes, Bobby Zamora scored. Zamora had been causing the Juve backline trouble with his aggressive and imposing nature and, even before the goal came, with Juve being trapped in their own half and with the state of the defence, one could sense it was inevitable.
The Bianconeri defence consisted of Fabio Cannavaro, Fabio Grosso, Jonathan Zebina and Hasan Salihamidzic, the latter a natural winger who was asked to play at right-back because of Juve’s lengthening injury list. Fabio Cannavaro, now 36, got himself sent off after 27 minutes for a foul on Zoltan Gera, something which later was viewed as slightly controversial as it looked as if Cannavaro had made minimal contact with the Hungarian, a sending off being a somewhat harsh response from the referee. Cannavaro, however, had seemed to be struggling to keep the Fulham attack at bay, as far too often he was easily shoved aside and outpaced and, due to his lack of height, out-jumped – a serious liability for a team struggling to keep a clean sheet.
The Old Lady played the rest of the first half with ten men and caused Alberto Zaccheroni to make an early tactical change by removing Antonio Candreva and replacing him with Zdenek Grygera. Juve were always going to be at a disadvantage playing with ten men, whilst Fulham now had an extra man to trouble the Juventus defence. It then began to unravel for Juve as Fulham were shooting on sight and had two opportunities to make it 2-1 on the night with shots by Zamora and Dickson Etuhu. It wasn’t long before a goal came, and it was Gera who scored on 39 minutes, helped hugely by the lack of proper marking from Juve. The marking by the Bianconeri at set pieces, particularly at corners, had been atrocious. They were so busy chasing the man that they would often see the ball fly right past them as they were seen rugby tackling the Fulham players at times.
After the break a dubious handball was given to Diego and a spot kick was awarded which Gera, the attacking midfielder hitting the back of the net and sending Antonio Chimenti the wrong way. To rub salt into the wound, Diego was given a yellow card, a harsh call made by a referee who had made curious decisions all night.
Juve left Craven Cottage and a very hostile crowd 4-1 down, reduced to nine men and unceremoniously dumped out of the Europa League. The Bianconeri’s season goes from bad to worse.