Poor Villa knocked out by Pompey's sucker punches
Report of match Aston Villa 1 Portsmouth 3 played 8th December 2007
Reporter Tom Vickers
Claret and Blue not up for the fight!On a weekend of big fights,
The away side continued their impressive form with a smash and grab raid in the
Harry Redknapp's men began the game in a punch drunk fashion but went ahead through a poor toe poke by Craig Gardner after some sloppy Villa defending.
Villa continued to push Pompey and had them on the ropes for the rest of the first half with David James making numerous good stops.
The most impressive save came from Gabriel Agbonlahor's fierce snap shot as
Martin Laursen could even have had Villa in front at half time but he somehow missed two glorious opportunities from Ashley Young deliveries.
After Laursen's lazy finishes, Muntari struck a hammer blow on 40 minutes as Scott Carson watched the swerving shot hit the back of his net.
Martin O'Neill and the rest of the team in the Claret and Blue corner had some work to do during the interval but whatever they said made no difference.
O'Neill's side re-entered the ring in a featherweight manner and hadn't even had time to put their gum-shields in before Pompey landed what was to be the knock-out punch.
Muntari again hit a bending effort from outside the area and the battle was all but over.
Villa looked dejected and their Northern Irish manager had the look of defeat not only in his eyes but in his tactics.
If this was a fight the referee, Mike Riley, who incidentally had a nightmare himself, would have called a stop to proceedings long before the end of 90 minutes.
Villa did manage a consolation through Captain Gareth Barry's penalty after Ashley Young was fouled for what must have been the hundredth time in the match.
The home side then tried to press for a second which they hoped could keep the possibility of a fight-back alive. However, it was
It was too little too late for Villa and their challenge for a European spot looks as likely to happen as Frank Bruno returning to become Heavyweight champion of the world.
|Competition: Barclays Premier League Date: Saturday, 8th December 2007 Kick off: 12:45 Venue: Villa Park|
Barry 72 (pen)
|1 - 3||Portsmouth
Gardner 10 (og)
Muntari 40, 61
|3||Wilfred Bouma (Berger 54)|
|26||Craig Gardner (Harewood 70)|
|23||Patrik Berger (Bouma 54)|
|9||Marlon Harewood (Gardner 70)|
|19||Niko Kranjcar (Taylor 88)|
|8||Papa Bouba Diop|
|17||John Utaka (Kanu 64)|
|11||Sulley Ali Muntari|
|14||Matthew Taylor (Kranjcar 88)|
|27||Nwankwo Kanu (Utaka 64)|
|Aston Villa cards shown|
|4 mins||John Carew||Unsporting behaviour|
|67 mins||Patrik Berger||Unsporting behaviour|
|Portsmouth cards shown|
|43 mins||Pedro Mendes||Unsporting behaviour|
|68 mins||Glen Johnson||Dissent|
|74 mins||David James||Timewasting|
|76 mins||Noé Pamarot||Unsporting behaviour|
|80 mins||Niko Kranjcar||Unsporting behaviour|