Comfortable win for Fulham
By James Dall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
A creative Fulham display secured a 4-1 victory over South China in the Asia Trophy.
A creative Fulham display secured a 4-1 victory over South China in the Asia Trophy third and fourth placed play-off.
Headers from Papa Bouba Diop and Carlos Bocanegra put Fulham ahead but they were given a brief scare when Flavio Barros pulled one back. Lawrie Sanchez's men eventually wrapped up the win with goals from David Healy and Brian McBride.
The Fulham boss made 10 changes to the starting line-up that lost against Portsmouth on Tuesday but his side were rarely tested during the first half.
Collins John was presented with a wonderful opportunity on three minutes, poor marking saw the Dutchman clean through but his right-footed shot lacked the bend to take it inside the post.
The bright Healy then worked himself into some space and hit a left-footed snap-shot towards the top corner but Zhang Chun Hui parried well.
Fulham made their dominance pay when a Franck Queudrue's deep free-kick was met by the colossal Diop who powered his header into the corner.
Antti Niemi was given a scare when the creative Li Haiqiang tried an ambitious lob from inside his own half, but to the relief of the Finn, the ball dropped just wide.
Healy was presented with a second opportunity to open his Fulham account when Queudrue whipped in a wonderful deep cross but the ball bounced just in front of the outstretched striker and his shot flew over from eight yards.
Two minutes into the second half Fulham doubled their lead. An in-swinging Michael Timlin corner was met by Bocanegra who flicked his header towards the unguarded far post.
On 57 minutes Fulham were punished for a lack of concentration. South China's captain and free-kick specialist Haiqiang curled a ball near the penalty spot and Barros ghosted in and finished sweetly.
South China were buoyed by the goal and as the crowd got behind last season's Chinese treble winners Barros came close again, the big striker gambled on a long ball but skewed his shot wide.
With 15 minutes remaining Healy finally got his name on the scoresheet. The Northern Ireland international made it a hat-trick of headed goals for Fulham when Alexei Smertin whipped in a cross and Healy placed the ball beyond the keeper.
On 83 minutes a well worked move saw Simon Davies lay the ball across for McBride, who tapped home and signed off Fulham's tour of Asia.