Crouch hits heights to rescue Pompey

Guimaraes 2 Portsmouth 2 (aet; Portsmouth win 4-2 on aggregate)
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The Independent Football

Peter Crouch scored twice in extra-time to complete a rousing Portsmouth comeback last night and steer Harry Redknapp's side safely through a testing away leg into the group stages of the Uefa Cup.

The visitors had conceded two goals in the space of 15 first-half minutes to leave them on the brink of elimination having arrived in Guimaraes with a comfortable 2-0 lead. The Brazilian Douglas and Joao Alves struck in the first half to put the Portuguese side two up on the night. Despite dominating the second half, Portsmouth could not make the vital breakthrough and were forced to go to extra time.

Cue Crouch: the England striker rose at the far post in the first period to convert Glen Johnson's cross and decide the tie. The former Liverpool man then shot fiercely home from the edge of the box in the second period as the home side were caught by a devastating break.

"We let ourselves down in the first half," said Crouch. "We weren't good enough – but in the second half we came out and dominated. I think our fitness told in the end."

When Jermain Defoe caught centre-back Gregory in possession in only the second minute it looked as though Portsmouth might grab the early goal to put the tie to bed, but the England striker failed to find the run of Crouch with his pass.

The visitors paid the price when Douglas drilled a shot into the net beyond David James in the 19th minute, with Portsmouth having made a mess of clearing a corner after Danilo's header was deflected behind. Sylvain Distin and captain Sol Campbell both failed to cut out the ball to the Brazilian who found ample space in the area to fire it home.

The visitors' advantage was totally wiped out after 32 minutes when Joao Alves' 35-yard shot from a short free-kick fizzed past the unsighted James.

Portsmouth dominated the game after half-time, although James had to make a save on 62 minutes when Douglas let fly from outside the area. The long diagonal ball to Crouch's head looked the obvious route and for much of the second period Pompey had to become predictable. But Crouch's aerial advantage was soon to tell.

Guimaraes (4-4-2): Nilson; Luciano Amaral (Fajardo, 79), Roberto (Carlitos, 62), Wenio, Gregory; Danilo, Douglas, Desmarets, Andrezinho; Flavio Meireles, Joao Alves. Substitutes not used: Serginho, Moreno, Tiago Ronaldo, Momha, Jean Coral.

Portsmouth (4-4-2): James; Johnson, Distin, Campbell, Pamarot; Davis (Mvuemba, 73), Diarra, Hughes, Armand Traore; Crouch, Defoe. Substitutes not used: Ashdown, Kaboul, Hreidarsson, Little, Kanu, Belhadj.

Referee: Selcuk Dereli (Turkey)