On This Day: Dempsey chip leads Fulham over Juventus in Europa League
10 years ago today, one of the most incredible and memorable European upsets too place.
Clint Dempsey’s absurd (and quite frankly, disrespectful) chip capped off one Fulham’s improbable comeback against Juventus in the Europa League Round of 16. Fulham would reach the final of the competition that season, falling to Atletico Madrid in extra-time on a Diego Forlan goal that would break the hearts of Whites fans everywhere.
It’s been all downhill since then for Fulham, but they remember the Juventus comeback fondly.
With the Whites falling 3-1 in the first let in Turin, legendary striker David Trezeguet pounced on a loose ball in the box just two minutes into the second leg at Craven Cottage, meaning Fulham was well on its way out of the competition. That’s when the improbable began.
Bobby Zamora chested a ball down and struck a few minutes later to bring Fulham within a shout, and then Zoltan Gera bracketed halftime with a pair, including the second three minutes after the break from the penalty spot that brought Fulham back level in the match. Then with the match deadlocked on aggregate at 4-4, each with one away goal, Dempsey’s audacious effort lit Craven Cottage alight with eight minutes to go. The goal was the perfect encapsulation of Dempsey’s career, outrageous for anyone to even consider in the circumstances let alone actually pull off.
Making the comeback even more improbable, Fulham’s stalwort captain Danny Murphy was suspended for the match after his late red card in the dying minutes of the second-leg draw against Shakhtar Donetsk the round earlier.
Fulham’s twitter account has been reliving the build-up to the match throughout the day, bringing fans quotes from the players on the day before the game.
Fulham would go on to eliminate German sides Wolfsburg and Hamburg before reaching the final, and while Simon Davies leveled the scoreline at 1-1 to cancel out Forlan’s opener, the Uruguayan bagged the winner in the 112th minute to end the improbable run. Still, Dempsey’s chip will go down as one of the great European moments, especially for an American on one of the biggest stages.