Fulham 3-0 Dnipro

Fulham striker Clint Dempsey
Fulham's Clint Dempsey, right, scored a brace to shoot down Dnipro

Fulham are on course for the Europa League group stages after enjoying a comfortable victory over Dnipro.

Clint Dempsey scored twice either side of half-time after Aaron Hughes had set the Cottagers on their way six minutes before the interval.

The Ukrainian visitors were lacklustre throughout and they did not register a shot on target until the 80th minute.

The hosts dominated and might have scored more but for poor finishing from Steve Sidwell and Bobby Zamora.

Fulham, who reached the final of the Europa League in 2010, dominated the first half but took their time before finally sparking into life.

Twenty-year-old Matthew Briggs was a constant menace down the left and, after forcing Jan Lastuvka into an early save, he set Martin Jol's team on their way to victory by setting up Hughes for the opening goal.

And, on the stroke of half-time, an unmarked Dempsey made it two after turning home Steve Sidwell's teasing cross.

The match was over as a contest within four minutes of the second period when Dempsey scored his second at the far post following good work on the right from Pajtim Kasami.

Northern Ireland international Hughes hit the bar with another header as the Cottagers continued to dominate and underline the strides they are making under new manager Jol.

It was an accomplished performance as, despite resting players like John Arne Riise, Moussa Dembele and Andy Johnson to the bench, the west Londoners never looked anything other than comfortable victors.

Briggs, in particular, looked at home on the big stage and Riise may struggle to regain his place in the team on the basis of this performance.

The scoreline might have been even more convincing, but an unmarked Zamora blazed over the bar from Stephen Kelly's excellent cross.

The visitors did raise the tempo in the final 10 minutes, Vitali Denisov going closest, but, in truth, they were outclassed and never looked like breaking down the well-marshalled home side.

Fulham manager Martin Jol

"We could have scored four or five.

"They could have scored a goal as well but I think 3-0 is probably a realistic scoreline.

"We want to play in the group stages because it raises the profile of the players and the club.

"But we have still got one more game to play before that and we have got to try and do a professional job."

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