Dembele off in Fulham defeat
Fulham suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Wisla Krakow in Europa League Group K after Moussa Dembele was controversially sent off.
Last Updated: 20/10/11 10:37pm
Fulham suffered a first defeat in the Europa League group phase after Moussa Dembele was controversially sent off in a 1-0 reverse away to Wisla Krakow.
Dembele was dismissed just before the half-hour mark for a push on Gervasio Nunez before David Biton scored the decisive goal for Wisla on the hour.
Wisla, who had lost their opening two matches in Group K, came close to opening the scoring on 11 minutes when Ivica Iliev's deflected shot bounced off the top of Mark Schwarzer's crossbar.
The turning point arrived on 29 minutes when Dembele reacted to a challenge by pushing Nunez in the shoulder and the Wisla man went down clutching his face.
A straight red card was brandished by the referee and Fulham's resistance was eventually broken on 60 minutes when Biton was allowed time to collect a pass and turn towards goal before firing a low shot beyond Schwarzer's reach.
The hosts' Osman Chavez was sent off for a second bookable offence late on, but Fulham were unable to create any chances to avoid a defeat which still leaves Martin Jol's side in second spot in the group.
Martin Jol made six changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Stoke and his team were unlucky not to see Wisla reduced to 10 men within the opening two minutes.
With the ball seemingly going nowhere, Iliev planted his foot in Hangeland's chest in a challenge akin to that made by Nigel de Jong in the 2010 World Cup final.
The former Partizan winger only received a booking for the challenge, which was followed by a further two Wisla fouls within a minute.
Fulham did not seem to be rattled by the early challenges and Damien Duff stung the palms of Sergei Pareiko in the fifth minute.
Iliev struck a cross-shot that Mark Schwarzer held with ease at the other end, before the dangerous-looking winger hit the crossbar.
The 31-year-old was given time to run through the heart of the field and unleashed a speculative 25-yard drive that rebounded off Hangeland and looped over Schwarzer onto the bar.
The White Star continued to impress as they attacked the raucous North Stand, with Schwarzer forced to save another Iliev drive in the 20th minute.
Fulham began to come forward with more purpose as the half progressed, with Dembele almost capitalising on some incisive passing only for Pareiko to save his curling effort.
Iliev again came close for Wisla moments later with a close-range drive, before Fulham received a controversial red card.
During an innocuous passage of play, Dembele was caught on the back of the ankle by Nunez and immediately pushed him to the floor.
The Argentinian midfielder went down clutching his face despite being pushed at shoulder height, leading referee Martin Hansson to hand the Belgium international a straight red card.
Fulham looked rattled by the decision and were penned in their own half for the remainder of the first period.
The start to the second period was delayed by 13 minutes after a power failure in the South East corner of Stadion Miejski.
When play finally resumed, Fulham looked livelier although Schwarzer had to be alert to thwart an audacious 35-yard effort from Wisla skipper Cezary Wilk.
Then the match begun to swing in Wisla's favour, as target man Orlando Sa pulled up with what looked to be a hamstring injury and had to be replaced by Pajtim Kasami in the 58th minute.
The Cottagers' evening got even worse in the 60th minute when Biton picked up the ball in the middle and went on to break the deadlock, unleashing an unstoppable effort from 22 yards.
Wisla continued to press for a second and, after Andraz Kirm twice came close, Nunez fired a long-range effort straight at Schwarzer.
While only 16,577 were in the stadium, the home support were making themselves heard and would have had another goal to celebrate if Biton had not skewed wide.
The game became stretched as 10-man Fulham searched for an equaliser and Wisla defended in numbers.
Jol's side were given a glimmer of hope with three minutes remaining as Chavez received a second yellow card for a late challenge on Andrew Johnson.However, the home side held out to secure a maiden victory against English opponents at the fourth attempt.
|Wisla Krakow||Team Statistics||Fulham|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|9||Shots on Target||3|
|5||Shots off Target||2|