The first half was pretty scrappy, I thought, and Basel seemed to have the upper hand. Unlike the Sofia game, Hodgson brought in a strong squad – and probably would have put out the first team if it were not for injuries. The defence did play well, despite missing Hangeland, but the visitors did have quite a few chances. Fulham did look good on the break as well, but didn’t really capitalise on their chances in front of goal Luckily, the Swiss side did not take their opportunities either.
In the second half, the Whites came out looking a bit stronger, with more purpose. More pressure was put on Basel, and in the end it told with a well taken strike from Murphy after 56 minutes. After that, the game was end-to-end, as Johnson kept trying to run the ball into the area (and had a good claim for a penalty denied). At the other end, Schwarzer was kept busy right up to a good save deep in injury time, and Basel certainly did try to come back.
While the game was close (and Basel could consider themselves unlucky not to get a draw), the result was good for Fulham. After a run of three losses, the team needed a win, and hopefully they can take that into a fairly important game against West Ham on Sunday. Of course, 4 points puts the Whites at the top of Group E. The next two Europa League games are home and then away to Roma, which will be a tough test.
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