Kanu Believe It?
Monday 28-08-06, 8pm
Kanu believe it!
Pompey maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a resounding 4-0 victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside.
Two goals from Kanu (7 & 57) either side of Benjani`s (50) first goal of the season had the game wrapped up inside an hour. Substitute Svetoslav Todorov (93) would add a fourth deep into injury time.
A foul on Kanu saw Pompey awarded the first free kick of the game within striking distance, which Dejan Stefanovic did superbly, only a wonderful Mark Schwarzer save would deny the skipper his first goal of the season.
The resulting corner would however see Pompey take the lead in the 7th minute. After failing to clear the ball Kanu poached from the edge of the 6 yard box to poke home.
A Noe Pamarot (in for the injured Glen Johnson) mistake let in Stewart Downing who had it not been for David James quickly off his line would have equalised.
A bright start would see David Thompson shot from the edge of the area following Benjani`s knock back.
Some good defending from Linvoy Primus denied Mark Viduka a certain goal as Boro applied some pressure of their own as they searched for an equaliser.
Then Yakubu would get on the end of another dangerous Downing corner, but his header lacked power and fell straight into the hands of David James.
On 19 minutes Pompey had another free kick in an almost identical position to that of the Stefanovic effort. This time Thompson tried his luck, but despite being again on target the effort was straight at Schwarzer.
Gaizka Mendieta`s first attempt on goal of the match would be from 20 yards, but his curling effort failed to trouble James at all.
James however would be tested by the next Boro effort. Mendieta`s flick on found Yakubu but the former Pompey man shot straight at James.
Gary O`Neil, who likes scoring against Boro, had his first effort on goal with a header from the edge of the box, but that went wide of the target.
A minute later and Schwarzer was called into action again, needing to turn away another Kanu effort from the corner of the penalty box.
As half time approached a sustained period of Boro possession saw a 30 yard Mendieta fee kick just narrowly go wide.
Yakubu would have the first effort of the second half, but again he missed the target with a long ranged effort.
The 50th minute saw Pompey go 2-0 up with Benjani`s 1st league goal of the season. A corner was played short to Thompson who delivered a fine ball into the area and Benjani opened his account for the season with a header.
Moments after Pompey`s second Mendieta would have another crack at goal, his 25 yard volley just went over the bar, although I feel that James had it covered.
James would have to be at his best to deny Boro twice in a matter of seconds. Firstly he had to be at full stretch to tip over Downing`s quickly taken free kick, then from the corner would again have to dive full stretch to turn a header round the post.
In the 57th minute following some sustained Boro pressure Pompey broke and counter attacked. A 60 yard Kanu run ended with a devilishly delightful chip over the advancing Schwarzer to put Pompey 3-0 up!
As the game reached the hour mark Boro tried to increase the number of players they had on the field to 13 as two unwanted visitors entered the field of play. One dressed in what appeared to be a chicken uniform?
At the midway point of the second half James would again be equal to the task put in front of him as he comfortably denied Lee Cattermole following a Sean Davis mistake.
Substitute James Morrison`s first influence on the game would be to shoot into the side netting as Boro went in search of a consolation goal.
With eight minutes left, and shortly after Ognjen Koroman had made his second debut for Pompey when coming on as a sub Kanu would be withdrawn to a standing ovation from the Pompey fans as Svetoslav Todorov came on.
The first booking came with only two minutes to play (two more, both Boro would follow) as Benjani`s through ball found Todorov in an offside position, and as a result of playing on he received a yellow.
In the 93rd minute Toddy lobbed over Schwarzer and into the net for Pompey`s fourth, just remaining onside following a fine pass from Davis.
So we now go into the International break 2nd in the Premiership with 7 points, 7 goals and none conceded in over four and a half hours of football! Kanu has already scored 4 goals, having managed just 5 in the whole of last season; Toddy has 2 and Benji 1.
Things are certainly looking good. Role on Wigan on September 9th...
For the LIVE Vital Pompey update page click here
Pompey 4 - Kanu 7, 57, Benjani 50, Todorov 23
Dejan Stefanovic (c)
David Thompson (Ognjen Koroman 73)
Matty Taylor (Richard Hughes 86)
Kanu (Svetoslav Todorov 83)
Substitutes Not Used