In-form striker Bobby Zamora was once again the hero for Fulham FC as his first-minute strike secured a 1-0 victory over German champions VfL Wolfsburg, rubberstamping his side's ticket into the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
The powerful forward showed guile and composure in abundance to extend the visitors' aggregate margin to 3-1 at the VfL Wolfsburg Arena with less than 25 seconds on the clock. The hosts' attempts to claw their way back were nullified thereafter by an astute defensive display from Roy Hodgson's charges, who now face the Wolves' domestic rivals, Hamburger SV, for a place in the final.
The fans had barely settled into their seats when Zoltán Gera threaded the ball into the feet of Zamora, who, with his back to goal, lost Jan Šimůnek with a sublime turn before finishing confidently past the helpless Diego Benaglio. Wolfsburg first threatened when Christian Gentner brought the best out of Mark Schwarzer at his near post from Zvjezdan Misimović's cut-back. However, it was Fulham who looked the more accomplished in the final third as the home side's renowned attacking triumvirate struggled to find a way through.
In the second period, Wolfsburg did their best to increase the pressure but were often forced on to the back foot by Fulham's intelligent passing game. Marcel Schäfer had a stinging left-foot drive from the edge of the box deflected just wide, while Edin Džeko forced another decent stop from Schwarzer with 15 minutes left.
Fulham could have easily extended their winning margin, however, with Simon Davies denied by Benaglio from close range before Danny Murphy's strike was cleared off the line by Andrea Barzagli. Though Džeko was desperately unlucky to strike a post late on and Grafite's follow-up was cleared off the goalline, the Cottagers preserved their lead to book a place in the semi-finals for the first time in their history.