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Madejski Stadium, England

Referee: M Dean | Attendance: 24084

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 2



  • Sol Campbell 9'
  • John Utaka 66'

Reading 0-2 Portsmouth: Clumsy Sonko sees Red

Portsmouth rediscovered their impressive away form to record a 2-0 win at Reading, who were forced to play 87 minutes a man down following the dismissal of Ibrahima Sonko.

Goals from Sol Campbell and John Utaka ensured their seventh victory away from Fratton Park - where they still have not won since September when Reading were thrashed 7-4 - but they now share the Premier League's best record on the road with Chelsea.

An incident-packed afternoon was always a probability given that previous result and the fact that Steve Coppell's side had racked up another crazy scoreline at the weekend - a 6-4 reverse at Spurs, where they had lead three times.

• Redknapp hails 'amazing' away form

A full house at the Madejski Stadium had to wait all of three minutes for the prediction to become reality when Sonko was sent off for conceding his third penalty in four games.

The centre-back allowed Benjani Mwaruwari to get goal-side of him, chasing Sulley Muntari's through-ball and referee Mike Dean had no hesitation in pointing to the spot when the Pompey front-man was impeded inside the box.

A red card followed for the man the home fans call Superman but who is struggling to live up to that reputation, having spent nine months out with a serious knee injury.

He is about to depart for African Nations Cup duty with Senegal and will probably be relieved to be ending a torrid spell at club level.

Niko Kranjcar smacked the resulting spot-kick against a post, however, and the 10 men almost snatched the lead at the other end when Bobby Convey popped up in the box, only to screw a good chance wide.

The American was immediately substituted to allow defender Andre Bikey to fill the Sonko-shaped gap, but within seconds Reading's other USA international, goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, had gifted Pompey a ninth-minute lead.

James Harper was aggrieved that referee Dean penalised him for a touchline challenge on Papa Bouba Diop, but Muntari's free-kick into the box should have been an easy catch for the 35-year-old.

Instead, he spilled it onto the head of Diop, with Campbell applying the finish on the line after it had bounced off Kalifa Cisse. It was the Pompey skipper's first goal in just over a year.

Hahnemann was able to save efforts from Benjani, Muntari and Kranjcar before Utaka volleyed over as Portsmouth used their extra man to dominate and there was a let-off when Diop lost his marker, Cisse, only to head over from close range.

A chance did come Reading's way just before the break when Stephen Hunt set up Kevin Doyle, but David James was able to deflect the ball away off his legs to keep his side level.

There was still time for a let-off at the other end when Benjani saw a header bounce off the bar in stoppage time.

Reading returned for the second period in defiant mood and put their opponents under pressure for a spell, with Cisse seeing an acrobatic effort on the turn blocked by a defender as he showed no ill-effects of a crunching late tackle from Richard Hughes which had earned the Pompey man a 58th-minute booking.

The home side had to admit defeat in the 66th minute, however, when the previously-quiet Utaka showed astonishing pace to overtake England defender Nicky Shorey in pursuit of Glen Johnson's through-ball.

The Nigerian had little difficulty in bypassing Hahnemann and locating an empty net to record his fourth goal since his summer switch from Rennes. Shorey, who had been suffering from illness over the holiday period, was then replaced by Ulises de la Cruz.

Hunt fluffed the chance of a consolation when he missed his kick completely after Doyle had found him beyond the back post, but there was relief for the home side at the other end when a low Muntari drive missed by a matter of inches.

  • Redknapp hails 'amazing' away form

    Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp hailed his players for their seventh away win of the season, a 2-0 success at Reading.

    Goals from Sol Campbell and John Utaka downed the home side, who saw defender Ibrahima Sonko sent off in only the third minute of this Premier League game.

    Pompey now have the best record on the road, jointly with Chelsea, but have

    been struggling in front of their own fans.

    Redknapp said: 'That's seven wins out of eight away from home - it's amazing.

    No-one has won as many games away as we have.

    'If we had won our fair share of home games we would sitting on the top of

    the league now.

    'I'm delighted with what we have done.'

    Redknapp was almost claiming an assist for the Utaka goal, which saw the

    Nigerian outpace the home side's illness-hit defender Nicky Shorey.

    He explained: 'He has pace to burn but he wouldn't have run for the goal if I

    hadn't been standing a yard away from him.

    'I said to him `please John, run behind the full-back' and in the end he


    Reading manager Steve Coppell refused to give up on Sonko for conceding his

    third penalty in four matches and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann for gifting Pompey

    their opener by fumbling a simple cross.

    He said: 'It was poor defending but I don't do my dirty washing in public. He

    has been magnificent for this club and if he makes mistakes all of them are


    'And I can count the mistakes Marcus has made on the fingers of one hand. I

    just took for granted he would take that cross.

    'You can't judge them on 85 minutes with 10 men. The 10 men I thought were

    magnificent. They will sleep well tonight and I could only thank them at the end

    of the game.'

    Coppell is also annoyed with Sunderland for unsettling Stephen Hunt with a

    £2.5million bid that Reading were always going to reject.

    He said: 'There has been a bid but there is no way that Stephen Hunt will be

    leaving this club at this moment in time.

    'He is typical of what we are about. He is a free transfer from Brentford,

    someone that has something to prove on a game-by-game basis and as far as I am

    concerned has been one of our key players for 18 months.

    'I would like to go back to the old way of doing business where you phone

    people up and that verbal communication is the end.

    'Their making the bid public didn't do me any favours. I would like to think

    we would do our business in the old-fashioned way.'

  • Scoring Summary

    • Reading
    • Portsmouth

    Match Stats

    • Reading
    • Portsmouth
    9(5) Shots (on goal) 18(13)
    10 Fouls 6
    5 Corner kicks 4
    0 Offsides 3
    43% Time of Possession 57%
    3 Yellow Cards 1
    1 Red Cards 0
    16 Saves 5


    • Reading
    • Portsmouth
    Yellow Cards
    Red Cards