For sale: one FA Cup finalist
Relegated crisis club Portsmouth stun Spurs 2-0 after extra time. Win a welcome boost to administrator's bid to attract buyers for club
If the administrators cannot sell Portsmouth now they never will. Consider the advertisement. For sale: seat at Wembley stadium, FA Cup final, Royal Box, front row, comes complete with football club carrying an estimated £80m debt.
That can be the sales pitch after the crisis-ridden club followed relegation on Saturday, a consequence of results elsewhere, by reaching next month's FA Cup final by dint of an improbable 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley yesterday.
Portsmouth, fielding a team including three loanees, but not Jamie O'Hara as his parent club is Tottenham, struck nine and 28 minutes into extra-time after a goalless opening 90 minutes. Frédéric Piquionne, on loan from Lyons, scored the first, tapping in after his marker, Michael Dawson, slipped on the notoriously unstable Wembley turf. Kevin-Prince Boateng, a £4.5m summer signing from Spurs, completed the incredible victory from the spot after John Utaka had been brought down by Wilson Palacios.
In between Tottenham had a goal, from Peter Crouch, contentiously disallowed after Niko Kranjcar was judged to have fouled David James. The goalkeeper's subsequent expression suggested he felt he had been lucky.
Spurs' manager, Harry Redknapp, said of the incident: "I thought it was a good goal, I've seen it four or five times, but that's the way it goes." Redknapp, who joined Spurs from Portsmouth last season, was damning about the pitch. "It is a disgrace. I'm not using it as an excuse because it is the same for both sides, for any professional team to play football on that is farcical."
Portsmouth withstood an extraordinary amount of pressure from Spurs merely to reach extra-time. Peter Crouch hit both posts, and he and Jermain Defoe missed a string of chances.
In another blow for Spurs, who slipped further behind Manchester City in the chase for a Champions League place after the latter beat Birmingham 5-1 yesterday, Palacios was booked and will now be suspended for this week's matches against Arsenal and Chelsea.
Portsmouth's win will be seen to complete a great weekend for Chelsea, who beat Aston Villa at Wembley on Saturday to reach the final, and were handed the advantage in the Premier League title race yesterday when Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. A result that Sir Alex Ferguson said meant the crown had “slipped away” from his side.
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