Pathetic Portsmouth suffer pasting in Portugal

Braga 3 Portsmouth 0
PORTSMOUTH took a pounding from Sporting Braga as their bid to reach the UEFA Cup knockout stages began with a poor performance and terrible result.

Braga fielded five Brazilians in the Group E opener and all their goals were scored by South Americans.

Uruguayan Luis Aguiar fired a fabulous 30-yard free-kick past David James in the eighth minute and Colombian Wason Renteria added a second just after half-time.

Portsmouth conceded a third three minutes from time when Sean Davis steered a right-wing cross against his own post and Brazilian Alan pounced to score from the rebound.

Some Portsmouth supporters appeared to scuffle among themselves at one stage in the first half at a ground where no English team had ever previously perished in European action.

Yet Portsmouth looked timid and totally lacking in creativity after being stunned by midfielder Aguiar’s sumptuous free-kick early on.

David James appeared to have little chance with the swerving, fiercely-struck set-piece effort which revived memories of three weeks ago in Guimaraes where he was also beaten by a long-distance blast which put the home side 2-0 up on the night.

Vandinho warmed James’s hands with another stinging shot from distance and Campbell headed over his own bar from another Aguiar free-kick which James seemed slow to come and collect.

But the real killer blow came from striker Colombian striker Renteria who snatched the second goal just two minutes after the break, timing his run perfectly to nip through the centre of Portsmouth’s defence and finish coolly after a smart link between Cameroon’s Albert Meyong and the busy Aguiar.

The visitors had the ball in the net just before the hour when Crouch’s header went in off the body of defender Evaldo after Eduardo fumbled, but the Slovenian referee Darko Ceferin acknowledged an offside flag.

A late Portsmouth rush saw Kanu on for the limping Traore, but Braga could have scored again when Aguiar fired into the side-netting and Redknapp’s team’s discipline appeared to go near the end of a deeply disappointing night.

Alan added the final blow when he slotted in for 3-0 in the 87th minute.

SPORTING BRAGA: Eduardo, Frechaut, Moises, Alberto Rodriguez, Evaldo, Vandinho (Paulo Cesar 86), Alan, Matheus (Cesar Peixoto 63), Aguiar, Renteria (Stelvio Cruz 83), Meyong.

PORTSMOUTH: James, Campbell, Pamarot, Armand Traore (Kanu 62), Distin, Davis, Diop, Hreidarsson (Belhadj 46), Little, Defoe, Crouch.

Ref: Darko Ceferin (Slovenia).


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