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UEFA Group stages - Opponents outlined.

Pompey fans naturally focus on only one team in the group that was drawn this morning and that is of course AC Milan but all in all we could have had a worse group. A big advantage is that all the teams are in Western Europe so there are no long hauls necessary.

SC Braga

Pompey start their Group campaign in the shadow of where they have just left off the first round, in northern Portugal but this time in Braga. The game will be played on Thursday 23 October kick off to be decided by Channel 5. There is no time to plan the trip but at least we have been there before. We would have liked to visit other countries but that is the luck of the draw and this is not a bad draw.

Braga qualified for the UEFA cup by winning the Inter Toto cup. Their only major domestic honour was in winning the Portuguese Cup back in 1966. In the UEFA cup first round they beat Artmedia, the Slovakian champions, 6-0 on aggregate. They shared a goalless draw with Vitoria in Guimaraes on Sunday.

Their stadium the AXA Stadium has a capacity of 30,000 and was built for the Euro 2004 championships. It is built on the site of a quarry and is carved out of the side of a hill and one end of the stadium is illuminated rock. It is considered one of the world`s most beautiful football grounds. They play in Arsenal style red shirts with white sleeves.

AC Milan

Fratton Park will hold possibly the greatest match in its history when AC Milan visit on Thursday 27th November. The Rossoneri are one of the world`s great clubs and no have them visit in a competitive game will be a dream come true for all fans.

They beat FC Zurich 4-1 over two legs to qualify for the group stage but are currently not in the best form in Italy only drawing 0-0 with bottom club Cagliari at the weekend.

Understandably a lot of fans wanted to visit the San Siro where the honours board is as large as the 83,000 stadium. They have won Serie A 17 times, the Italian Cup on 5 occasions; in Europe they have seven Champions League/European Cup titles, the Super Cup on five occasions and the UEFA Cup twice. Just for good measure you can add four World Club championships.

We have link of course with AC Milan having sold them Mark Hateley in 1984 for £915,000 plus the promise of a friendly. We have had a long wait for that game, nearly 25 years but at least it has been upgraded!! Mark became a hero on the red side of Milan once scoring the winner against rivals Internazionale.

We must all now pray that the TV bosses do not move this game to a stupid kick off time. And will Pompey stick to their promise of £20 per ticket?

Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg will be the second away stop in the group when Pompey drop in on Thursday 4th December. Wolfsburg is a city in Lower Saxony which is in northern Germany. Their stadium also has a capacity of 30,000.

They qualified for this season`s UEFA cup by finishing 5th in Bundesliga last season and defeated Rapid Bucharest 2-1 in the first round. To date they have won no major German honours.

There is also a Pompey link here because Andres D`Alessandro joined on loan from the German club in January 2006 and many would have liked him to stay but he had his heart set on playing Spain; a venture which sadly failed in truth.

SC Heerenveen

Pompey fans get their Christmas off to an early start with the visit of Dutch side Heerenveen on Wednesday 17th December. Curiously Heerenveen reached this stage by beating the other Portuguese Vitoria from Setubal 6-3 on aggregate.

The Dutch club who qualified for the UEFA cup by finishing 5th in Eredivisie last season are currently lying 4th after just 5 games and thumped Ajax 5-2 at the weekend. Their best position in the league was runner up in 1999/2000.

Heerenveen is approximately 50 miles north east of Amsterdam in northern Holland. Their ground has a small capacity of 26,000 - well that is 30% bigger than ours!!

More to come

That is a just a very quick look at the opposition in the group stages. The Vital Pompey team will keep you right up to date with all the news as things develop. So join us now by clicking below.

PUP


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The Journalist

Writer: eastneydave Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday October 7 2008

Time: 2:48PM

Your Comments

I cannot wait to see AC Milan, and the look on Kaka, Ronaldinho and the rest's, faces when they waltz into Fratton. It'll come as a bit of a shock to them! No disrespect to your famous old ground, but it's a far cry from the San Siro, isn't it? As a Chelsea supporter, I have designated Pompey as my second team for the UEFA Cup this year, and will be cheering you on against Ancelloti's men. I remember when we first started out in the Champions League, and we entertained Milan at the Bridge for the first time. It was one of those unforgettable nights, and we even managed to hold them to a 0-0 draw! Best of luck!
daspecial1
Great job Dave, some good tip bits of info there. Just a quick note though that the 17th of December and our last game is on Wednesday and not Thursday.
sneakay
Cheers 'jose' and keep us as your second team right the way to the final ;). Eastneydave you are so quick off the mark it's untrue.. great work mate ... I sense 2 more 'international' versions of 'They Played' coming up.. Two who I will personally love doing..
Chix
Let's hope C5 don't make it too difficult with their TV times. a good round up of our opponents. Still have the best 2 at home & arguably the 2 weakest away.
storagematt
sneakay thanks - article amended accordingly. As Chix said rush job and I knew there were a couple of dates that Wednesday was an option.
eastneydave
Good luck in your group Pompey from all at MCFC. Despite drawing AC, you must fancy your chances looking at the rest.
oliverblue
Win your home games to qualify - or one home and one away!!
eastneydave
I fancy our chances against AC milan too... although maybe hat's just me over hyping us as always ;-)
pompeycarpet
I expect it will go down to the last game in the group another tense night at Fratton park then, PARTY, PARTY.
pompeyyong
I so so wanted to go to the San Siro - after the groups were announced it took ages to find out which matches were home and which away, and I was a bit disappointed that the Milan match was at home. But now I think it will be fantastic to see AC Milan at FP and of course so many more people can go than if it was away. I have 2 days leave left this year, so there's a choice between going back again to the Porto area or Wolfsburg. We've got a trip planned via Berlin, taking in Berlin over the weekend, and we've booked the hotel in Wolfsburg. Hotel Primas! Sounds like a good omen! (Just got to confirm the time off work now).
tracyc
Got the Dutch lot day after my birthday, same as 16thDec1972 I reckon along with Distin, so more reason to win that one!
paultsmouth
It was 28 years ago that I saw my first 'European' match under the Fratton Park floodlights when we played MSV Duisburg - a friendly part of the twin city celebration. Our squad of old stalwarts like McCann, Trebilcock and Hiron lost 2-0 on the night to follow up a 4-1 defeat in Germany two weeks earlier. Unbelievably it was a further 16 years before we played a European side again at Fratton when we beat Real Sociedad in a pre-season friendly when Toshack was their manager. You'll understand why to get through to the UEFA Cup Group stages and play the likes of AC Milan is simply incredible. Lets hope I can get a ticket!!!
FP Dec 16th 1972
This is bloody beautiful! I would give me right nut to see AC at Fratton Park
nodster
The AC Milan match at Fratton Park is a glamour tie alright… but if you are not careful, Pompey Bells -- it could mean your exit from the UEFA Cup before the knockout stages. The usual tactic to qualifying for the knockouts is to win both your group home games. The fact that you have AC Milan at home means that if you don’t get a result you must win a minimum two of the remaining games. I can see you beating Dutch side Heerenveen at home, but then that leaves trips to Braga in Portugal and Wolfsburg in Germany. If you don’t win one of those two away games it could be curtains. The way forward is obviously to beat or draw with AC Milan. Good luck boys – and hope to see you in the knockout stages!
Sindbad
 

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