James gifts Germans win as Portsmouth crash out

Wolfsburg 3 Portsmouth 2
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The Independent Football

Portsmouth were knocked out of the Uefa Cup here in Germany last night after losing 3-2 to Wolfsburg in their Group E clash. Edin Dzeko put the hosts into an early lead before Pompey hit back through Jermain Defoe and Arnold Mvuemba, although Christian Gentner levelled the match before the break.

But David James then gifted the Germans a third in the 74th minute when Zvjezdan Misimovic took the ball from his feet and rolled it into the net – although James made some amends with a penalty save from the same player five minutes later.

Tony Adams, the Portsmouth manager, refused to castigate James. He said: "He's a fantastic keeper, he saved a penalty, set up the first goal – I have every faith in him. He's been in the game a long time and there's nothing I can say to him."

Adams' side were a goal down after just four minutes when Bosnian Dzeko flicked home from close range, but were level in the 11th minute after Armand Traoré clipped in a cross that Diego Benaglio could only palm to Defoe, who scored.

Pompey then took the lead three minutes later when Mvuemba fired into the corner of the net from 20 yards. The match was all square in the 23rd minute, however, when Gentner's centre from the left evaded everybody and nestled into the net.

Wolfsburg: Benaglio, Riether, Ricardo Costa, Barzagli, Schafer, Zaccardo (Hasebe, 37), Josue, Dejagah, Misimovic, Gentner, Dzeko. Substitutes not used: Lenz, Rodrigo Alvim, Simunek, Saglik, Madlung, Krzynowek.

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Belhadj, Mvuemba (Crouch, 65), Davis, Hughes, Armand Traoré, Kranjcar, Defoe. Substitutes not used: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Diop, Pamarot, Little, Kanu.

Referee: I Bebek (Croa).