Vital Football

Pompey gain upper hand

2 - 0





Pompey got off to the best possible start in their maiden European adventure, goals from Diarra and Defoe sealed a comfortable win against the Portugese side.

Harry Redknapp went for the same 11 who finished strongly against Middlesborough on Saturday, Utaka shaking off his knee injury to take his place on the flank.
Pompey started with a purpose at a rocking Fratton park, the passing was crisp and the movement good. Belhadj and Traore showed again why our left flank looks to have enough about it to scare even the biggest teams, their pace and constant over-lapping was frightening, Diarra bossed midfield with his eager right-hand man Davis, and Defoe was his waspish self up front.

Nilson was the main man for Guimaraes though, he pulled off 2 cracking saves from Defoe, 1 where he deflected over the bar when Defoe looked odds on, and another when Defoe twisted into a shooting position only to find Nilson there to smuggle his shot away. Diarra should be called 'Dijon' because he is both French and mustard, he burst through 2 tackles and then played a lovely one-two with Defoe to burst the net and give Pompey a well deserved and somewhat overdue lead.
Everything was going to plan, then the German ref, Mr P Knut decided Campbell was impeding and awarded a soft penalty to get the Portugese back in. Up stepped number 17 (can't remember his name) the bar was rattled and the ball nestled somewhere nicely next to John Westwood at the back of the stand, bonus.

The second half followed much the same pattern as the first, Guimaraes were technically sounded but lacked a cutting edge, while Pompey played with verve and gained a spot-kick of their own when Defoe went down in the box. Jermain man stepped up himself and watched the outstand Nilson parry his effort to safety, nerves jangled again.
Traore then displayed a lung bursting effort to run the length of the pitch to plant a cross right on Crouch's button, but Nilson again denied the blues.
One goal looked a fragile lead to take over in two weeks time, so not to be outdown by his left-sided partner, Belhadj slinked down the wing and crossed for Defoe to volley home and give us a lovely two goal cushion.
Guimaraes knew they needed something and resorted to long shots that James fielded rather than saved, Pompey threatened on the counter attack but 2 was our limit for the night.

Star Player

Diarra shone again, but I'll go for Belhadj on the night, our Algerian was all over the shop and gives Pompey an extra dimension with his searing pace and enthusiasm.

Player Ratings


Never seriously tested, Englands number 1


Didn't get forward as much as usual but was sound defensively. Should be a England regular


Fleet of foot with a formula 1 engine, should be playing for England.


Dominant in the air and covered well on the deck, should be playing for England


Class in sixt foot of skin, should be playing for England


Dijon is a star, should be captaining England.


Pompeys Land-rover to Diarras roller, should be playing for England


Gives credit to the Traore name after Djimi, a constant threat, should be playing for England.


Penalty miss but a goal all the same, should be playing for England.


Ref loved him, every time he touched the ball it made the ref so happy he blew his whistle with joy, should be playing for England.


Showed a couple of glimpses of form, but needs to burst past defenders more often, should be playing for England.


The wardrobe ws let out of the bedroom for 15 mins, should be playing for England.

Manager Rating

No qualms with Harry, a win on our first Euro venture is tantamount to that.

Date:Thursday September 18 2008
Time: 10:39PM

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I'm a happy bunny
18/09/2008 22:41:00
Won and no goals conceded well done.
Tiny T
18/09/2008 22:54:00
Their goalie was superb wasnt he! Great night tho, it's starting to sink in. One Harry Redknapp, there's only one Harry Redknapp!
18/09/2008 22:54:00
Got nothing to add here but : All the best to you lot this long as you stay below us in the table of course. :))
Blue is the colour
18/09/2008 23:12:00
What a fantastic evening. The crowd were at their best and the game lived up to the occasion. A very good team performance and Diarra was awsome. I think Guimares are probablyactually quite good, and it is credit to us that we made them look ordinary. "When Sol, goes up, to lift Uefa Cup...."
18/09/2008 23:24:00
dijon. nice one paultsmouth.
18/09/2008 23:32:00
Well done guys. A well deserved win. Hopefully u cld step up ur play in the league. Goodluck
18/09/2008 23:52:00
Diarras goal is the best pompey goal ever!
19/09/2008 00:37:00
was good and cud have been even better 4-1 would have been a fairer result
19/09/2008 01:10:00
Nice writeup Paultsmouth. Belhadj was fantastic again, and Diarra, as were they all (go on then, even Utaka)!
19/09/2008 01:13:00
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