Fulham vs. Manchester City 3/21 photo courtesy of Getty Images
The first question going into the match is would Fulham come out sluggish after a big win on Thursday? Second, Would Manchester City look like the team that beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge? Well, Fulham came out very slow and Manchester City looked very sharp in the beginning of the match. Manchester City were able to score 2 goals in the first half. Fulham scored a late second half goal to end the scoring for the match. The game ends with Manchester City beating Fulham 2 - 1.
The first half began with some pressure from Manchester City. Fulham were making mistakes and bad passes. The first real chance of the match for Fulham came in the 6th minute. A shot by Zoltan Gera is cleared by Kompany. This leads to a break for Manchester City. A deflected shot by Craig Bellamy goes off the post and ends up right to Santa Cruz. He put the ball right into the net and Manchester City led 1 - 0.
Fulham just came out flat again just making bad passes. In the 18th minute, Chris Smalling gives the ball away leading to another shot by Santa Cruz. In the 23rd minute, Carlos Tevez had a shot on net. It was apparent that Manchester City would push forward fast whenever they had an opportunity.
Craig Bellamy was giving Fulham serious problems. In the 36th minute, Bellamy's pass to Carlos Tevez in the box led to fantastic goal by the striker. The rest of the half saw Manchester City controlling the majority of the play. If Fulham wanted to get back into the game they needed to come from behind once again against Manchester City. The first half ends with Manchester City leading 2 - 0.
The second half began again very lackluster for Fulham. In the 53rd minute, Bobby Zamora came off with a shin injury. He was replaced by Clint Dempsey. Shortly after that, Stefano Okaka entered the match for Zoltan Gera. Those substitutions early in the second half didn't change the pace of the match.
Actually, Manchester City started putting some pressure on Fulham again. In the 57th minute a shot by Santa Cruz is nicely saved by Schwarzer. Adam Johnson then would have 2 good shots on net. In the 58th minute his shot hits the pole. In the 69th minute a Johnson shot hits the side of the net. Also, during this pressure Adam Johnson gives a nice pass to Bellamy. His shot just goes wide.
At this point it looked like the game would be 2 - 0 or Manchester City might score another goal. All that changed in the 74th minute of the match. Gareth Barry is called for a handball in the box on a Chris Baird pass. This leads to a penalty shot by Danny Murphy. He shoots the ball in the net. With 15 minutes left in the match Fulham are now down 2 - 1. They were given life at that point.
This would lead to a great deal of pressure from Fulham. The best chance for the equalizer came in the 82nd minute. Stefano Okaka had a great chance to score. He made a great run and took a shot in the box that just went wide. In stoppage time a pass by Riise hit a Manchester City a player in the box. The referee did not call a penalty this time, and the game ended shortly afterwards. Fulham lose 2 - 1 to Manchester City.
Fulham were fortunate to be in the match in the last quarter of the game. They were not able to overcome a sluggish beginning. You have to give much credit to Manchester City as they deserved to win. They played very well. Craig Bellamy, Adam Johnson, and Carlos Tevez stuck out to me as key players today for Manchester City. It is now on to the FA Cup replay Wednesday at White Hart Lane. If Fulham play sluggish in the beginning of the match on Wednesday, it could be a long night for Fulham.