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The dream is over

Fulham’s European dream finally ended last night, when they lost the final of the Europa League 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in the most crushing of circumstances. Diego Forlan scored a goal with only a few minutes left of extra time in a dramatic contest that summed up what an interesting competition the new iteration of the Uefa Cup has been this season. However, the west London club can leave Hamburg knowing that they lit up the competition and probably helped garner a new generation of fans, something that will be invaluable to a relatively small club like the Cottagers, especially given the large shadow league champions Chelsea cast across the area.

‘The players are very, very disappointed as we put up a very good show,’ said Fulham boss Roy Hodgson. ‘The game was heading towards penalties and, despite obvious fatigue, they were well organised, well disciplined and looking good value for the result. But unfortunately Diego Forlán popped up with another crucial goal.

‘It's a bitter disappointment as I thought we deserved at least to go to penalties. I really am unbelievably proud of the players. Everyone wants to finish first but finishing second at this level of competition after 63 games is a remarkable achievement. The players are very, very down as they felt they had a good chance of winning this competition. We've suffered a bitter blow, but when the pain lifts we can look forward to next season.’

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