The Mido touch transforms Spurs with debut double

Tottenham Hotspur 3 - Portsmouth 1
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The Independent Online

Egypt is an unlikely source for the sort of entertainment which can wow the cynics of White Hart Lane but Mido, a hulking 21-year-old from the land of the Pharoahs who has already had five clubs and is on extended loan from Roma in the Italian League, spearheaded an exhilarating show from Spurs which overran a gallant and hard-working Portsmouth.

Egypt is an unlikely source for the sort of entertainment which can wow the cynics of White Hart Lane but Mido, a hulking 21-year-old from the land of the Pharoahs who has already had five clubs and is on extended loan from Roma in the Italian League, spearheaded an exhilarating show from Spurs which overran a gallant and hard-working Portsmouth.

Despite carrying a groin strain suffered in training on Friday, Mido (full name Abdel Hamed Ahmed Hossam) started and though he did not last the course he abruptly terminated Tottenham's recent bleak run of three League losses with a brace of plundered goals, wrought havoc with Pompey's central defence and lifted his team-mates to their most impressive performance for weeks.

Mido's alleged playboy reputation was shrugged aside by the Tottenham manager, Martin Jol: "He is a sweet guy, a terrific lad, a good character." He is also, clearly, a quality scorer of goals. This is excellent news for the supporters, as Jol pointed out. "Now we have the luxury of four men up front."

Mido had the swagger and confidence of someone who is accustomed to the big time. The other new Spur in the line-up, Andy Reid from Nottingham Forest, started brightly but long before the end looked as if he knew he was very much in a different league now, as Jermain Defoe and Mido's replacement, Robbie Keane, ran the second half show up front, brilliantly prompted by Simon Davies from the right. But the class of Reid was on late, late display when he hit a post and then provided the pass for Keane's points-clinching strike.

Only three minutes had gone when Mido got in his first strike, lifting a shot over the bar. As Reid and Thimothée Atouba made merry down the left, giving Linvoy Primus a lively time, Spurs forced a string of corners, Dejan Stefanovic almost put through his own goal, Mido headed wide and then attempted an outrageous bicycle kick. The inevitable outcome of all this Tottenham pressure was a Portsmouth goal, and it arrived just before the half-hour.

When Portsmouth gained a corner on the right Berger swung it in left-footed. The ball was met at the near post by the head of Diomansy Kamara, glanced across the face of goal and in by the far post for his fourth of the season.

The referee, Steve Dunn, rejected extended appeals for a penalty as Defoe fell in the area, but this was rapidly forgotten as Davies made ground down the right and was offered space to deliver a precise cross to the head of Mido for a simply achieved equaliser.

Kamara seemed to have put Portsmouth back in front just before half-time, brilliantly controlling a high ball down the middle before rounding Paul Robinson, but he was adjudged to have handled. "It looked a good goal to me," said Portsmouth's assistant manager, Joe Jordan, "but from the lack of reaction from our other players I imagine the referee's decision was the right one."

Mido was at it again at the start of the second half, sustaining a head injury as he competed with Arjan De Zeeuw to get in a strike which was too high. The 6ft 5in goalkeeping signing from Greece, Kostas Chalkias, dived to deny Mido soon afterwards but could do nothing about the second goal. De Zeeuw's attempted clearance rebounded off Stefanovic and fell to Defoe, whose shimmy and low ball left Mido with the opening to drive a shot into the roof of the net.

Off went Mido to a standing ovation, on came Keane to carry on the good work, Spurs ran the show and proved their worth with that third goal sven minutes from the end, Reid's lobbed pass being flicked cleverly in by Keane.

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