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UEFA CUP

Fratton Park, England

Referee: Karl Kircher | Attendance: 19612

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Portsmouth

  • Lassana Diarra 39'
  • Jermain Defoe 60'

2 - 0

FT

P'mouth 2-0 Guimaraes: Defoe avenges spot woe

Portsmouth's maiden adventure into Europe stalled and then started on the right foot of Jermain Defoe as they claimed a 2-0 victory in their UEFA Cup first round first leg clash against Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes.

Midfield dynamo Lassana Diarra put Portsmouth on their way with a rifling finish after 39 minutes.

Then Defoe, who scored twice against Middlesbrough last Saturday, took centre stage.

• Harry: This tie ain't over yet

He was tripped in the area three minutes after the break but saw Vitoria goalkeeper Nilson plunge left to keep out his penalty shot.

But missed opportunities have never fazed England marksman Defoe and he came up with a potentially crucial strike on the hour.

Guimaraes survived a couple of scares in the opening 25 minutes with Defoe forcing a fine tip-over save from Nilson and John Utaka struck a post when the keeper flapped at a corner following another stop from Defoe.

But they are clearly no mugs at the European game. They would have been in the Champions League this season but for a dubiously disallowed goal in a qualifier against FC Basle last month.

And they showed their credentials with a spell of lively counter-attacking that kept Pompey's defenders on their toes, when Sylvain Distin and birthday boy Sol Campbell both had to make vital interceptions.

But when Fajardo was caught in possession by Armand Traore in the 32nd minute, Crouch was quick to link up with the Frenchman on the left and slipped a pass inside for Defoe to blaze just off-target from 18 yards.

What Pompey needed, though, was a little more direct service for their front two but Traore and Utaka were struggling to find space on the flanks to make crosses. When Utaka finally did in the 35th minute, Nilson flew out of his goal to make a safe catch.

The goalkeeper excelled again, beating away Defoe's shot from 10 yards after a good pass by Utaka and then getting the benefit of a handball decision against the striker, but could do nothing about it when Diarra shot Pompey ahead at last in the 39th minute.

The all-action midfielder came in off the left to play a one-two with Defoe, who tried to take possession himself and head for goal but saw the ball deflect back to his team-mate to bury a close-range drive.

Fratton Park went mad - but within three minutes the fans were silenced when referee Kurt Kircher ruled Campbell had pulled down Roberto in a wrestling match for Desmarets' free-kick.

The cheer was just as loud as that for Pompey's goal, though, when Fajardo clipped the top of the crossbar with the penalty, not even requiring David James to move.

Pompey clearly needed more than a narrow advantage for the second leg in Portugal in two weeks and should have doubled it three minutes after the break when handed a penalty of their own after Defoe was carelessly tripped by centre-back Moreno.

But the little striker saw heroic Nilson plunge to his left to splendidly keep out his deliberately-aimed spot-kick.

It probably will not matter because within 12 minutes more - after big Roberto spurned a good chance at the other end - Defoe had yet another goal after his double against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

It was beautifully crafted down the left once more, new boy Nadir Belhadj taking a pass off the persistent Traore and providing the perfect cross for the former Tottenham goal-poacher to punish poor marking with a sweet half-volley.

It was not over yet, even though Guimaraes looked a little demoralised for a spell before being briefly lifted when Joao Alves' skimming low free-kick almost found Danilo skidding in at the far post but just failing to connect in front of an empty net.

But Traore should have made it 3-0 when set up by Crouch who had earlier nodded straight at Nilson when soaring above the Vitoria defence for the young Frenchman's cross. Once more the keeper was heroically in the way again.

  • Harry: This tie ain't over yet

    Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp was satisfied with a good first night in

    Europe for his team but warned after a 2-0 UEFA Cup win over Portugal's Vitoria

    Guimaraes: "This tie is not all over yet.''

    Redknapp saw Lassana Diarra and Jermain Defoe score fine goals for the FA Cup

    holders but Defoe also missed a penalty - as did stand-in skipper Fajardo for

    the visitors - and the Pompey manager admitted: "I don't know if that is

    enough.

    "We scored two good goals and played well against a very good technical side

    who showed in stretches what they can do. It will not be easy out there.

    "Their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves including the penalty and we could

    have had four or five. The save from (Armand) Traore in the second half was

    amazing.

    "But we saw enough of them to believe they could be really dangerous at home.

    They changed their system in the second half, pushing an extra man into midfield

    from the back and we couldn't get right on top of them.

    "But luckily Defoe is in good form, really sharp, and Diarra is just an

    amazing player - one of the best midfielders anywhere. He's a fantastic talent.

    I couldn't see from the touchline whether their penalty should have been given

    but I'm told the save from Jermain was a good one

    "It was a great night for supporters and they have deserved it. They have had

    to endure the bad times for years, watching the team struggle for results in the

    fourth division not that many years ago.

    "Now they are seeing top Premier League and European football after such a

    barren spell.''

    Guimaraes coach Manuel Cajuda admitted: "We were concerned to look after the

    big Portsmouth players (Peter Crouch, Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin) and yet

    it was the shortest players who scored. That's football.

    "But there is no reason for me to believe we cannot turn the match around.

    It's going to be difficult but not impossible.

    "Small details made the difference here. Portsmouth have more experience than

    my players but the quality for us was much better in the second half even though

    we didn't score.

    "Our goalkeeper was very good but that's normal for him. He's a good

    goalkeeper. There is no way we underestimated Defoe and Diarra. We knew they are

    good players but we had opportunities, not least the penalty, and didn't take

    them.

    "There is no point in talking too much about that but if Portsmouth can win

    2-0 here we can do the same against them in Portugal.''