Fulham 1-1 FC Twente

By Paul FletcherBBC Sport
Andy Johnson celebrates scoring for Fulham
Johnson capitalised on an awful piece of Twente defending

Fulham opened their Europa League group campaign with an entertaining draw against Dutch side FC Twente.

Andrew Johnson profited from an awful pass across goal by Dwight Tiendalli to put Fulham ahead with a precise finish.

Twente drew level when a header from Luuk de Jong hit the post and went in off the unfortunate Mark Schwarzer.

The Fulham keeper also made good saves from De Jong and Willem Janssen, while Nikolay Mihaylov denied Clint Dempsey and Johnson.

The result ensured that the Cottagers, finalists in this competition in 2010, extended their proud unbeaten home record in Europe to 21 games, but the draw means that Martin Jol's side have now failed to win any of their last five games.

Fulham certainly deserved at least a point, although their Dutch opponents did have periods in the game when they dominated possession and looked threatening.

Twente, coached by the experienced Co Adriaanse, settled quickly and Ola John, younger brother of former Cottager Collins, should perhaps have given them an early lead with a 20-yard strike but his weak effort was easily saved.

It took Fulham time to gain a foothold in the contest but they made inroads with their purposeful running at goal and Dempsey forced a smart low save with a crisp effort from the edge of the area.

The London side benefited from some atrocious defending for their opener, with Tiendalli attempting to pass the ball across the face of his team's 18-yard line but failing to account for the alert Johnson.

The Fulham striker, one of six changes from the team that drew with Blackburn, intercepted the pass, brushed off Peter Wisgerhof and lifted the ball beyond the advancing Mihaylov from a tight angle for his fourth goal of the season.

There was a confidence and ambition about Fulham's play as they tried to extend their lead and Danny Murphy lost the troubled left-back Tiendalli but headed Brede Hangeland's cross wide.

However, Twente regrouped before the break and drew two fine saves from Schwarzer - first from a De Jong header and then a low strike from Janssen - before the Dutch side equalised.

Steve Sidwell appeared to get a touch to a teasing cross from Roberto Rosales but it was not enough to prevent De Jong from heading against the post before the ball struck the unlucky Schwarzer and rolled over the line.

Jol's team regrouped at the break and dominated after the restart, with Dempsey heading wide and Johnson drawing a world-class save from Mihaylov with a strike from 12 yards.

The ball had run invitingly to Johnson after Dempsey had gone down under a challenge from Tim Cornelisse but referee Antonio Damato waved away Fulham's penalty appeals.

Dempsey had a shot on the turn saved and Sidwell headed wide, while Jol introduced Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff as his team searched for a winner.

Twente started to threaten once again in the closing stages but Fulham, who play Danish side Odense in their next Europa League fixture, held firm.

Fulham boss Martin Jol: "I felt you can't do more than we did in the first half.

"Everything went well. We pressed them at the right times and scored from that period as well.

"We played good football and the second half was probably different because we tried to force the issue.

"Then they had some space to hit us on the break and they did that a couple of times. That is the only thing. If you don't score goals easily enough then you still have to try to."

Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hangeland, Grygera, Briggs (Senderos 81), Kasami (Duff 73), Sidwell, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson (Zamora 66), Dembele. Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Kelly, Orlando Sa, Gecov.

Booked: Grygera,Murphy,Senderos,Dempsey.

Goals: Johnson 19.

FC Twente: Mihailov, Cornelisse, Douglas, Wisgerhof, Tiendalli, Rosales, Janssen (Landzaat 83), Brama, Fer, John (Bajrami 67), de Jong. Subs Not Used: Boschker, Bengtsson, Berghuis, Leugers, Janko.

Booked: Brama, Rosales.

Goals: Schwarzer 41 og.

Att: 14,110

Ref: Antonio Damato (Italy).

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