Fulham demolish Dinamo
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jean Tigana's Cottagers did profit from a stroke of luck on the half hour as Zagreb defender Kristijan Polovanec was dismissed for a professional foul on Luis Boa Morte, but they put in a polished display to condemn their opponents to a 3-0 defeat and take a huge stride towards the third round of the competition.
Boa Morte was always a danger and got the visitors off the mark in the 36th minute, with Steve Marlet and Barry Hayles adding second half goals to seal an excellent result for the West Londeners.
Dumitru Mitu fired an early warning shot at Fulham when he lashed in a right-footed effort from range that flew just over the bar.
Silvio Maric then flicked the ball on from the edge of box after 12 minutes and Mitu was there again to hit the volley that flew just wide of the near post.
Steed Malbranque found Steve Marlet a minute later with great ball to the right but Frenchman flashed his shot across the face of the goal.
Marlet then turned provider firing in a cross from left as Finnan arrived but the latter could only stab over the bar with the outside of his foot.
The game then turned on the half hour when a Zagreb defender brought down Luis Boa Morte on the halfway line as the Portuguese star broke free and referee Eduardo Gonzalez pulled out the red card despite a couple of Zagreb defenders looking likely to cover.
The ten-man hosts then had a chance to go ahead when Aston Villa striker Bosko Balaban, on loan from Villa Park, blasted a volley well over from close range.
The visiting Cottagers then took the lead a minute later when Boa Morte ghosted in on Malbranque's ball to round keeper Tomislav Butina and roll the ball into the net from an acute angle.
Despite going a goal down, the ten men of Zagreb battled on towards half time and Mitu was very close to levelling the scores on the stroke of the interval.
Mitu was given time and space by the Fulham defence 25 yards out and smacked his thunderous effort goalwards only to strike the outside of the post with Van der Sar beaten.
Ten minutes after the break, danger man Boa Marte sprung the offside trap but tried to shift the ball onto his left foot and in the end was closed down by Butina in goal and the chance went begging.
Junichi Inamoto replaced Matin Djetou and made an immediate impact when he set up Marlet for the second goal.
The Japanese international found Marlet with his clever through ball, and the former Lyon man broke the offside trap before coolly finishing past Butina for 2-0.
The Fulham substitutes then combined to grab the third against the beleaguered Croatians in the 77th minute as Andrejs Stolcers raced clear down the left wing before sliding the ball across the face of the goal for Barry Hayles to fire into the net from close range.
Despite the score, Zagreb kept on fighting till the end and had a glorious chance to pull a goal back five minutes from the end when Jasmin Agic broke free but then dinked his effort over the onrushing Van der Sar but wide of the post.
The excellent Mitu then twisted and turned on the edge of the box before chipping the ball to the far post to pull a great save out of the giant Dutch goalkeeper.
Stolcers had a late effort blocked but Tigana will be delighted with his side's showing in Croatia as they are now in pole position to qualify.
Dinamo Zagreb v Fulham