Sat 8 Mar 2008
Unbelievable, totally unbelievable!
Sport never fails to surprise me, and today’s FA Cup match between Manchester United and Portsmouth didn’t disappoint on that score.
Both are Premiership teams so I suppose we should have expected a close match, but most would have anticipated a Manchester United victory. And this is the outcome that was most likely in the early action with the home team having the majority of posession and therefore most of the early chances. They would rue their inability to take any of them though as the game entered the second half still goalless.
Several times the commentators mentioned that it appeared to be Portsmouth’s year to win the Cup as they enjoyed an amazing run of luck with the ball twice cleared off their line to prevent United taking the lead.
Then late on, Portsmouth had a rare break upfield which resulted in Baros going one on one with the ‘keeper of United only for the Baros to stumble over him and earn his side a penalty. This was doubly unlucky for United with their first goalkeeper having been injured in the first half so the resulting red card for Kuszczak meant defender Rio Ferdenand was stuck between the sticks. The red card was harsh in the extreme - not only did Baros go down under the faintest of touches, there were also another two defenders behind him so there was no way he was the last man.
But Muntari duly stepped up and rattled away the penalty to give Portsmouth the lead, a lead which they were never going to give up. United had another couple of chances, but Portsmouth’s defending was resilient enough to keep their superstars at bay one way or another.
Nobody watching could really explain how on earth they managed it, but Portsmouth somehow managed to put Manchester United out of the Cup in a game where they defended very well but made very few chances going forward. To win you need not only skill, but a certain amount of luck and Pompey certainly rode their’s today.
So the question is, is Portsmouth’s name already on the FA Cup?