Fulham clinched third place in the Premier League Asia Trophy with a commanding 4-1 win over South China in Hong Kong this morning. Goals from Papa Bouba Diop, Carlos Bocanegra, David Healy and Brian McBride were the highlights in a commanding win for Lawrie Sanchez’s side.
Collins John could have scored two brilliant individual goals inside the first six minutes. The Dutch striker curled fractionally wide from 25 yards after being found by Alexei Smertin and then volleyed Moritz Volz’s cross inches off target from ten yards after outmuscling his marker. The Premier League side were almost embarrassed by a brilliant piece of quick thinking from H Qu, who almost lobbed Antti Niemi from inside his own half. The Finnish goalkeeper was stranded but the inventive effort drifted wide of the unguarded net.
Fulham hit the front on nineteen minutes when Diop guided a header into the far corner after gliding away from his marker at a Frank Queudrue free-kick. The pair almost combined for a second from another set play four minutes later but this time the big Senegalese midfielder sent his header wide. John spurned a simple chance at the back post, stopping his run instead of connecting with Alexei Smertin’s low cross, and Healy and Liam Rosenior missed harder headed chances to add to the lead before the break.
That was all rendered rather irrelevant when Bocanegra emphatically headed home Michael Timlin’s corner within sixty seconds of the restart to double Fulham’s lead. South China grabbed a goal back when a quick free-kick caught Fulham napping, with Barros lashing a fine finish past a helpless Antti Niemi. Backed by a boisterous crowd, South China pushed forward for an equaliser but they were eventually undone by Fulham’s superior finish. Healy headed a superb third from the penalty spot – diving to connect with a dangerous cross from Smertin – and a fine move featuring Healy, Davies and Smertin saw McBride round off the scoring at the back post with a simple tap in.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Niemi; Volz (Baird 71), Quedrue, Pearce (Hughes 71), Bocanegra; Smertin, Diop (Davis 59), Rosenior (Davies 59), Timlin (Konchesky 59); Healy, John (McBride 64).
REFEREE: C. T. Wong