Manchester United - United v Pompey: Justice Prevailed In The Shootout
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United v Pompey: Justice Prevailed In The Shootout

Many things are said about modern football. Critics often blast the nature of it, stating that greed is at the centre, the lust for money. They have a point but it's not the greatest danger.

Money can't kill the sheer beauty. Harry Redknapp's conception - increasingly popular around the world - can. No doubt.

The plan is simple: field strong, quick, aggressive players who have a rudimentary grasp of the basics of football and tell them to stick to the opposition's players, harass them, unsettle them, tackle them at every opportunity, run, run and run more.

Of course you need a great amount of luck as well as the superior opposition will eventually find a way through the muscle wall. Portsmouth has that luck and that's how they won the FA Cup, despite being outplayed by Preston, United, Ipswich, West Bromwich and Cardiff...

Redknapp's team once again failed to capture the imagination. The much-hyped strike partnership of Crouch and Defoe was lost between the man mountains that are Ferdinand and Vidic, their midfielders created nothing without Muntari - not that they did at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, with the Inter midfielder still in the side - and the defence looked suspect at times.

A depleted United side - Ronaldo, Rooney, Anderson, Hargreaves, Park and Saha were all absent, with Carrick only on the bench - controlled the game with ease from start to finish, despite the opposition's increasing aggressivity which was tolerated by an unfortunately lenient Peter Walton. The two main creative forces, Tevez and Scholes, got the majority of the kicks, knocks, blows, they were harassed and provoked but still had time to create chances.

Fletcher came closest in the first half after Nani won the ball back from Glen Johnson on the edge of the area, curled it in from the left and the lunging Fletcher miskicked it and it found its way eventually to the defenders.

The second half was increasingly one-sided and Pompey were prepared to stop us by any means. They were delivered the stroke of fortune that they should be used to by now: after James' mistake, Fletcher's brilliant lob from the edge of the area bounced back of the crossbar. Nani was also threatening throughout, his bursts through the defence regularly caused panic yet somehow Pompey always got away with their lapses of concentration.

Tevez came close with a brilliant shot but James's equally brilliant save kept the score level. Hreidarsson's inexplicable madness - he caught hold of Tevez's legs with his arms - should have brought a penalty for the Champions but Peter Walton's whistle remained silent. How he could not see it is one of the secrets that shall never be revealed.

It became a real possibility that just like in practically every single FA Cup game last season, Pompey would once again snatch a win despite being largely outplayed throughout the 90 minutes. But their attacking threat was non-existent and luck could only keep them alive until the penalties.

Fortunately, Diarra's penalty taking is no more sophisticated than his football - he just ran forward and blasted the ball as powerfully as he could and of course it took off and flew over the bar. It set the tone: Tevez, Giggs and Carrick all scored for United while only Defoe could respond as Mvuemba and Johnson both missed...

In the end, justice prevailed as it would have been a travesty had this Pompey side won the Community Shield. As for United, we have learnt nothing new. It's obvious that a striker is necessary and I'm still hopeful of landing Berbatov, the only likely target. Frazier Campbell looked promising again - indeed, he would have deserved a goal for the way he created the chance for himself ten minutes from time.

But despite the bad-tempered nature of the game - best part was Portsmouth players urging us to kick the ball out for a Diop (I think) to receive treatment for an injury he sustained when trying to break Scholes' leg with a clumsy sliding tackle... - and the poor finishing, it was an encouraging display and at least the season is finally underway!

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday August 10 2008

Time: 7:04PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
lucky ********s u always score last minute if not it is on penalties where van der sar always dives to his right !! will ave u at fratton park !!! PUP
stfc ballboy
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 19:17:00

Wow, what a pathetic article! Pompey were poor but not over physical! Man Utd got most of the decisions from the ref. We do not have any width, and still we held the European and English champions in normal time. Why do you lot whinge so much? David James saved the Fletcher chance, the goalkeeper is one of the 11 players you know! You are still smarting from the cup game last year. Your lot make tackles look bad by diving and rolling around so much, I wonder what would have happened if Herraiderson had dived to the floor and cried when Tevez grabbed his throat? Or did you not see that bit? United easily deserved the win, it was a poor show from Pompey, but do get a life mate!
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10/08/2008 19:44:00

Sound a bit bitter to me, can't lose with grace or win for that matter, we stopped you getting the FA cup last year, yet you get the prem and Champions league, wind your neck in and get over it!! Worst tackle of the game was by Neville
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10/08/2008 20:29:00

just where do you deserve all this luck from?
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10/08/2008 20:36:00

From the fact we dominated the match merlin.
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10/08/2008 21:17:00

Nani and Tevez were awesome. Fletcher proved he canplay on the wing aswell, so all round a very good runout. As for these feckers ^^^^ - the less said about them the better.
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 21:36:00

Your right 4life, we will go back to our house of cards, you get back to your ivory towers
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 21:53:00

good luck to you mancs in the league but by justice do you mean Nani's continuous diving or just the violent tevez's stamping
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10/08/2008 22:42:00

Isnt it the way of a medicore mid-level team to mock those above them. Pity, if you took time to actually wacth the match without your pompey blinkers on you may be able to see what real fotball opposed to the hit-and-hope one dimensinal play my esteemed collegue Zae has brought to your attention. Oh and russellm, i may be a tw*t - but at least im getting talked about!
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11/08/2008 00:33:00

A good match from United's point of view, but Portsmouth were disappointing, for me. I was expecting it to be a tighter game, but despite the scoreline, United seemed always on top. But, these games mean very little in the games ahead, and I expect Portsmouth to do well again this season.
Man utd champions
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11/08/2008 18:48:00

Most pathetic match report ever written! Funny how you never saw Nanny throwing himself to the floor and wiping tears from his eyes at every opportunity! As said above, suppose Teves violent nature is ok because he plays for man u. I stayed bahind to see the shield presented out of courtesy to all the Manc fans I had the pleasure to meet, obviously more rounded than the bloke that wrote this rubbish!
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11/08/2008 20:14:00

I do have to admit the article may have been a bit harsh but I think after last year's FA Cup quarters we were all upset about the way Pompey won when we were denied a penalty. I started to hate Pompey even more after that but that died down. But the article on Pompey's site is no better! The OP talks about Mendes controlling the midfield!!?? And he fails to mention we were without our key players and still controlled the game and that Portsmouth have a lot to work on. But hey hoewever it's written, these articles are merely just opinions
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11/08/2008 22:17:00

ForeverU, the report actually says that Pedro Mendes worked really hard in the middle of the park, with his quality showing as he passed it around nicely. But, yes I suppose any match report is merely an opinion.
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11/08/2008 22:58:00

United4life: There is nothing mediocre about a team who were fighting relegation just two years ago, making the progress we have, especially with the limited resources we have. There's room for improvement, but we are getting there. As for Zae's whinge about the ref not seeing Hreiddersons tackle on Tevez "one of the secrets that shall never be revealed", another secret that shall never be revealed was the fact that the ref didn't see the violent thug grab hold of Hreiderson's neck! (a red card offence, wouldn't you say?) As for playing dirty, I watched the game on the telly and unfortunately for you, they had playbacks. Your team were by far the dirtiest. Several Reports said today that you were only marginally better than Portsmouth (and one Report wondered, on yesterday's showing, where would you be without Ronaldo's 42 goals?) Well, if you have to take a team like Portsmouth (who were fighting relegation just two years ago) to penalties to get a win, I suppose he has a point. Get over yourselves!
Report Abuse
12/08/2008 01:06:00

"i may be a tw*t - but at least im getting talked about!" Unitedforlife: You got one thing right in that statement!
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12/08/2008 02:56:00

Did Mendes even play? :| i thought diarra was their best midfielder in the community shield
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12/08/2008 07:40:00

3 Quick questions. 1. Did the Match Reporter go to the match ? 2. Does t-shirt have a big grease stain on it's shoulder .. from the obvious chip on it ? 2. ... Why was the 18:30 from Waterloo packed with Man U fans... oh of course it stops off at Guildford... A ypical one sided view of things from an over bloated group of fans ... one day that bubbble will burst and you'll look around for pity .. get none and then go and support your local team.. COME ON CHELSEA< LIVERPOOL< ARSENAL < ANYBODY.. Do let these arrogant prats win the league again...
Report Abuse
12/08/2008 08:00:00

... just so they can tell us all again how ******** hard done by they are... Glory glory Man Utd.. Yawn... WHERE'S YOUR TREBLE GONE !
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12/08/2008 08:01:00

^ hahaha, they're jeleaosy has no limits!
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12/08/2008 14:05:00

Slight issues there, Chix. You're accusing us of being arrogant prats, then why, why do you want Arsenal, Liverpool, or unbelievably, CHELSEA to win??? Does not the 'Arrogant' tag fit them rather well???
Man utd champions
Report Abuse
13/08/2008 19:43:00

Portsmouth have done extremely well to get where they are in the past few seasons, but you cannot say we were only marginally better than Portsmouth, Gandor. Yes, in terms of the result, but whilst we had plenty of chances, Crouch for one hardly had a sniff in. Loads of the papers were saying that if it hadn't been for David James, United would have won far earlier. Also, you cannot say that Untied will struggle without Ronaldo's goals, because that is all he does: score. He hardly ever set anything up, so while he's away, Tevez and Rooney can get more goals, as well as a new striker (hopefully).
Man utd champions
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14/08/2008 09:24:00


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