Fulham were beaten by Roma in the final match of their Austrian summer tour.
Chris Coleman selected a strong starting line-up with Steed Malbranque, Louis Saha and Steve Marlet all featuring, but it was the Serie A side who made the stronger start. Francesco Totti was denied by a smart save from Edwin van der Sar after latching onto to a lovely cross from Antonio Cassano.
Marlet saw a low shot well saved by Ivan Pelizzoli, before Martin Djetou bravely blocked Cassano at the other end. Malbranque had a brief sight of goal after strong play down the right flank by Marlet, but Christian Chivu proved alert to the danger. Roma went in front midway through the first half through a sublime goal made a beautiful forty yard pass from Totti. He released Cassano, who lifted a lovely finish over Edwin van der Sar despite Leacock’s brave efforts at a clearance.
But Fulham roared straight back through a wonderful finish from Saha. The French forward’s terrific 25-yarder flew past Pelizzoli and into the top corner. It was a magnificent strike to bring to mind Saha’s majestic season under Jean Tigana as the Whites roared to the Division One title.
Saha nearly put Fulham in front early in the second half when he surged away from Jonathan Zebina but a superb sliding challenge from Walter Samuel snuffed out the danger. Maik Taylor had to be quick off his line to prevent Totti from restoring Roma’s lead after the Fulham defence was caught square by a Chivu through ball. Jon Harley and Lee Clark combined effectively down the left but the latter’s strike was deflected behind for a corner.
Roma clinched victory in the final stages, after Coleman had sent on Rehman and Buari for valuable experience against the illustrious opposition. Fulham weren’t able to hold out for a creditable draw, though, as midfielder David Bombardini drove a low winner past Taylor with two minutes to play.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Van der Sar (Taylor 45), Leacock (Rehman 45), Goma (Knight 60), Djetou (Hudson 60), Bonnissel (Harley 45), Legwinski (Buari 75), Inamoto (Green 60), Clark, Malbranque (Hammond 75), Saha (Hayles 75), Marlet (Boa Morte 45; Sava 75).
GOAL: Saha (26).
AS ROMA (4-4-2): Pelizzoli; Panucci, Candela, Chivu, Samuel; Tommasi (Dacourt 45), Guigou (Zebina 45), Lima (Bombardini 60), Delvecchio; Totti, Cassano.
GOAL: Cassano (25), Bombardini (88).