Portsmouth - Pompey gain upper hand
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Pompey 2 - Guimaraes 0




Pompey gain upper hand

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.

The Journalist

Writer: paultsmouth Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday September 18 2008

Time: 10:39PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I'm a happy bunny
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18/09/2008 22:41:00

Won and no goals conceded well done.
Tiny T
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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!
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18/09/2008 22:54:00

Got nothing to add here but : All the best to you lot this season..as long as you stay below us in the table of course. :))
Blue is the colour
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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...."
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18/09/2008 23:24:00

dijon. nice one paultsmouth.
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18/09/2008 23:32:00

Well done guys. A well deserved win. Hopefully u cld step up ur play in the league. Goodluck
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18/09/2008 23:52:00

Diarras goal is the best pompey goal ever!
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19/09/2008 00:37:00

was good and cud have been even better 4-1 would have been a fairer result
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19/09/2008 01:10:00

Nice writeup Paultsmouth. Belhadj was fantastic again, and Diarra, as were they all (go on then, even Utaka)!
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19/09/2008 01:13:00

I, too, would like to offer respect to the "Dijon" -French mustard analogy..you are wasted on this forum, brother!
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19/09/2008 02:42:00

managed to catch the first half on line, but missed the second half due to bad signal, but was updating myself on bbc website. Utaka wasn't that bad, if the shot in the first half had gone in, I think it would have given the lad a bit of confidence and up his game. We were solid throughout. Bring on City PUP
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19/09/2008 05:11:00

Great report. Utaka nearly produced the goods - maybe it is a confidence thing. He got a standing ovation when he went off so he should be feeling the love at the moment but I think if a fox had run onto the pitch there would have been a standing ovation.
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19/09/2008 05:30:00

Got to pinch yourself now haven't you, think back to even a couple of years ago and look at the class we have got in the squad. Don't think there was one iffy performance out there. What a signing Belhadj is and along with Traore down the left I reckon we can rip any defence apart. Going to be interesting when Niko back, wheres he gonna put him? still a nice problem to have and can't remember when we have such a strong squad with a bench of players that are more than capable of giving first team performances. So proud to be blue. PUP
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19/09/2008 07:30:00

fantastic report paul - you should write them for england :-)
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19/09/2008 08:27:00

what a fantastic night eh guys, a special one to be a part of and what a way to kick off a european adventure! great game, great performance and great result...
belhadj must be signed up - hopefully the 'season loan with an option to buy' is true - its just a shame that we couldnt add armand traore on a permanent basis aswell, altho you never know...but i doubt it?
if only we had someone ahead of johnson that would offer the same type of combination on the right hand side - SWP would have been ideal, but there you go...
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19/09/2008 08:30:00

Ruggers .. you stole my line ! - Great Report Paul and what a night the crowd did the team proud and the team did the crowd proud. I've a feeling on that performance we'll see a few more European nights at Fratton this season and hopefully in years to come... Well worth all those years of dreaming.. Play up Pompey.. You certainly did !
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19/09/2008 09:04:00

Lovely stuff - can't wait for round two now!
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19/09/2008 10:01:00

Belhadj must be signed up. We were very good, but we need to be aware of the away tie. pack the midfield maybe. They had several key players out by all accounts
plymouth graham
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19/09/2008 11:05:00

A great game, and a great atmosphere. So good to hear so many fans making noise. I especially liked the chant from the fratton end to the milton end to give them a song! classic.
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19/09/2008 11:41:00

I couldn't get there on time but saw most of it on the telly. Although it was a great team performance, there were three real "A star" performances in my book; Belhadj was sheer class, Diarra bossed it - especially in the first half and, for me, the greatest performace of the night was from you guys (and gals) that were there; it was a fabulous noise....what a great atmosphere....made me wish all the more that I could have been there. Good on you all. BRILLIANT!
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19/09/2008 11:56:00

Well done last night. Hopefully yourselves and us (MCFC) will have no difficulties in the return legs and progress through. Roll on Sunday!
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19/09/2008 16:32:00

I really wish I was there... but as I wasnt, I will stick to commenting that our team was amazing! guimeres are not a bad side - in fact, they are actually a very good side - and we made them look very average. The ironic (an annoying) thing is however, that they are aparantly good enough to be playing champions league football (or atleast be i the qualify for it) and we are not. having watched the game, what really makes them so much better than us? most people even had them as the underdogs, even though they were champions league drop outs, and we wouldnt even have qualified for europe through the league!
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19/09/2008 17:32:00

P.S. I dont think belhadj is english (or traore... or utaka, distin, diara etc.)
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19/09/2008 17:33:00

Some game ... some atmosphere. Like areal cup tie of the 70's & 80's but how many times a Pompey team of old would have flunked it on the 'big' night? Sitting in North Upper G section I was right behind Diarra as he worked his way out from the touchline to score such a brillant goal - the boy's a genius and we're lucky to have him. Its amazing to think that only 10 years ago this month we lost away at Bury under Ballie in Div I - how far have we come since then?? Mind blowing!
FP Dec 16th 1972
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19/09/2008 22:20:00

Oh don't we wish we had European matches years ago. No wonder they are so sought after. Once you have taste....
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20/09/2008 11:02:00


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