Fulham reach final to make history

LONDON - Fulham, in the fourth tier of English football just 13 years ago, completed their fairy-tale run to the Europa League final with a 2-1 win over Hamburg at Craven Cottage on Thursday evening.

Croatian striker Mladen Petric had stunned the home side with a vicious 30-yard free-kick after 22 minutes, with Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer only able to watch as it sailed into his net, but well-taken late goals in the second half from Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera sealed a 2-1 aggregate win and a place in the May 12 final in Hamburg.

"It just keeps getting better doesn't it," captain Danny Murphy told ITV. "It would have been easy to think this was the end of the journey but I thought the spirit we showed in the second half was tremendous.

"Look what it means to everyone - it's amazing," added Murphy as the London club's fans went wild with delight. "We have come a long way."

Match-winner Gera said: "That was the most important goal I've ever scored so I'm very happy".

Fulham beat Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg, Italian giants Juventus and 2009 UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk earlier in the competition, and will play Spanish side Atletico Madrid in the final next month.

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