Taking a trip to eastern Russia for a Europa League match is not an easy chore for any English club. Despite a two-goal advantage heading into Thursday's match with Amkar Perm, there were still some nervy supporters hoping that the Cottagers could put behind Sunday's loss to Chelsea and right the ship in Russia. Fortunately, the Cottagers were able to withstand the Russians on this day and despite losing the match 1-0, the Whites advanced to the group stage with a 3-2 aggregate win to advance.
Roy Hodgson fielded a less than full strength squad in Russia. Players like Seol Ki-Hyeon, Bjorn Helge Riise, Zoltan Gera, Stephen Kelly and Chris Baird were all involved in Thursday's match.
Despite the team lacking some of the punch and power it has shown in its' three previous European matches, the Cottagers were able to do just enough to get past Amkar Perm and book a spot in the group stage of this competition.
Fulham did lost 1-0 on Thursday, but the lone Amkar Perm goal came in second half stoppage time so there was little time after the goal to get the second goal the Russians would have needed to advance.
The group stage draw will take place tomorrow in Monaco. It is at that point that Fulham will find out what other clubs will be in their group.
While I did not get a chance to watch the match, the result does please me and I am sure other Fulham supporters around the world.
Now back to league play on Sunday at Villa Park against Aston Villa. That will not be easy.