Kamara and Berkovic give Pompey edge over Leeds

Portsmouth 2 - Leeds United 1
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The Independent Online

Portsmouth progressed to the fourth round of the Carling Cup in a game that was more comfortable than the tight scoreline suggested, although a late rally from Leeds almost took the match into extra time.

Portsmouth progressed to the fourth round of the Carling Cup in a game that was more comfortable than the tight scoreline suggested, although a late rally from Leeds almost took the match into extra time.

The south coast hosts cruised into a two-goal advantage as Diomansy Kamara and then Eyal Berkovic scored in the first half. But veteran striker Brian Deane pulled one back for Leeds before the break and was a constant thorn in Portsmouth's side.

It was almost a year to the day since Leeds left Fratton Park reeling following a 6-1 drubbing that signalled the end of Peter Reid's short tenure as manager at Elland Road and set alarm bells ringing around the Yorkshire club.

Only one Leeds player - Irish defender Gary Kelly - made the starting line-up for the Yorkshire club on their return to the south coast, with the fortunes of the two clubs having been dramatically reversed.

Harry Redknapp, the Portsmouth manager, rested eight players from the side that claimed a point at Middlesbrough last Sunday and can look forward to the visit of Manchester United on Saturday.

Meanwhile, his opposite number, Kevin Blackwell, fresh from a 1-0 defeat at Brighton at the weekend, was forced into playing 17-year-old midfelder Simon Walton as part of a heavily depleted defence.

The home side lived up to their billing as favourites and, after hitting the post through Andy Griffin, took the lead on the 15-minute mark.

The Senegalese striker Diomansy Kamara, latching on to a Ricardo Fuller through-ball, eluded two defenders before rifling low past Neil Sullivan, the Leeds United goalkeeper. Portsmouth's Israeli midfielder Eyal Berkovic doubled Portsmouth's lead from the penalty spot on 35 minutes after Kelly felled Valery Mezague.

Leeds hit back against the run of play with a fine headed goal from Brian Deane, who steered home Kelly's cross.

Boosted by Deane's strike against the run of play, Leeds started the second period in lively fashion. The veteran striker looked to have found an equaliser that would have been unthinkable mid-way through the first half on the hour mark, but it was ruled out for offside.

Portsmouth responded by bringing on their Nigerian striker Ayegbeni Yakubu in an attempt to kill off their opponents. But neither side were able to take control as the game swung from end to end.

It was Yakubu's fellow substitute Patrick Berger who looked the greater threat as he saw a trademark long-range effort fizz wide, while Fuller was inches away from touching home a low cross-shot.

Leeds threw on the bulky Michael Ricketts to partner Deane for the final 10 minutes in an attempt to bombard Portsmouth's defence. But, despite catching the outside of the post in a penalty box mélêe, Leeds' depleted side could find no way through.

Portsmouth (4-4-2): Ashdown; Griffin, Primus, De Zeeuw, Taylor; Berkovic (Yakubu, 56), Cisse, Hughes, Mezague; Fuller, Kamara ( Berger, 68). Substitutes not used: Hislop, Stefanovic, Faye.

Leeds (4-4-2): Sullivan; Kelly, Carlisle, Walton, Pugh; Gregan (Keogh, 86), Richardson, Spring, Johnson (Ricketts, 86); Joachim ( Lennon, 71), Deane. Substitutes not used: Carson, Winter.

Referee: S Bennett (Orpington)

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