A young Fulham side were well beaten by Celtic at Loftus Road this evening as Chris Coleman’s pre-season preparations stepped up a gear.
Coleman picked a young side to start this friendly and the early signs were that the sprinkling of academy graduates were a little overawed by the Glasgow giants. Mark Hudson began at right back, with Zesh Rehman in midfield and young Elvis Hammond leading the line. Celtic began brightly, keeping the ball well, and attacking with intensity. The contest was effectively settled within the first quarter of an hour as the Scottish side established a two-goal cushion through strikes from Stilian Petrov and Henrik Larsson. Fulham’s best chance came courtesy of Sean Davis, whose low shot was well saved by Magnus Hedman after a quickly-taken free-kick.
Coleman shuffled his pack at half-time, introducing a number of more experienced options off the bench, and Fulham proved to be much more competitive after the break. They equalised just before the hour mark when Facundo Sava, cleverly found by the bright Barry Hayles, slipped away from Stephen Crainey and finished with aplomb. The goal galvanised Fulham, who suddenly put the Celtic goal under a prolonged period of pressure. Hayles headed against the crossbar from a Malik Buari cross and Rab Douglas made excellent saves from Lee Clark and Steed Malbranque to deny Fulham an equaliser.
FULHAM (4-4-2): van der Saar (Taylor 46); Hudson, Knight, Djetou (Goma 45), Harley (Green 45); Inamoto (Buari 45), Davis (Clark 45), Rehman (Legwinski 45), Boa Morte (Malbranque 45); Saha (Sava 45), Hammond (Hayles 45).
GOAL: Sava (59).
GLASGOW CELTIC (3-5-2): Hedman (Douglas 45); Mjällby (Sylla 45), Varga (Crainey 18), Valgaeren (Kennedy 45); Smith (Fernandez 62), Miller (Lambert 45) Petrov (Lennon 45), Thompson (Prunty 85), Petta (Guppy 45); Sutton (Wallace 62), Larsson (Beattie 62). Sub (not used): Marshall.
GOALS: Petrov (10), Larsson (15).
REFEREE: Paul Taylor.