LONDON: Fulham reached their first European final on Thursday but Liverpool’s season of misery was compounded when Atletico Madrid prevented hopes of an all-English Europa League title showdown.
Fulham completed a remarkable run to the May 12 final with a 2-1 win over Hamburg. After conceding an early goal, Hodgson’s men recovered thanks to late strikes from Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera. The Cottagers had already eliminated holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Italian giants Juventus and German champions Wolfsburg.
Tragedy at Anfield Diego Forlan’s 102nd-minute goal ended Liverpool’s hopes as they were denied a place in the final by Atletico Madrid on the away-goals rule. Yossi Benayoun’s 95th-minute goal, which gave the hosts a 2-1 semi-final aggregate advantage, looked to have booked Liverpool a place in the final. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Alberto Aquilani had levelled the aggregate scores with a finish before Benayoun struck early in extra time. But Forlan, whose goal gave Atletico a narrow 1-0 lead from the first, sent the Spaniards through.