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.
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