Portsmouth 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Defoe Scores And Sees Red Against Old Club
Thrilling encounter sees Spurs hang on for victory.
It was a happy return to Fratton Park for Harry Redknapp as Tottenham Hotspur beat Portsmouth 2-1.
Goals from Ledley King and Jermain Defoe were enough to see the visiting side home as Kevin Prince-Boatengresponded.
Defoe was firmly in the action, as he was sent off against the club he left in January for stamping on Aaron Mokoena as Spurs were forced to hold on during the tense closing stages.
Portsmouth’s Michael Brown was also sent off against his former club for two fouls during stoppage time of the game.
The returning striker imposed himself on the game from the start and could have opened the scoring three times inside the first ten minutes, first unleashing a deflected shot that was comfortably gathered by David James, before failing to connect with Aaron Lennon’s cross.
Defoe went closer still when he collected Tom Huddlestone’s pass and fired in an effort that beat James at his near post, but cannoned back off the post.
Pompey had chances of their own in an action-packed opening 15 minutes though, as former Spur Kevin Prince-Boateng tried an audacious lob from just inside the opposition half that flied safely over.
It was Aruna Dindane who had the best opportunity of the half, and perhaps the whole season, as he met Tommy Smith’s low squared pass six-yards out, but managed to clear the crossbar with Heurelho Gomes’s open goal at his mercy.
Another former Tottenham man, Younes Kaboul, forced Gomes into an exceptional diving save low to his right just five minutes later as he struck a free kick from 20 yards out that caught a deflection on its way towards goal.
Portsmouth were in the ascendancy when King opened the scoring for the opposition just inside the half hour mark. The home side had failed to deal with some mild pressure and were forced into conceding a corner and when the centre-back leapt highest to meet Kranjcar’s difficult delivery, Spurs were in front.
Spurs continued to probe and doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. Defoe slid Jermaine Jenas’s pass in from close range after the midfielder had made a quick exchange with Huddlestone.
After the interval, Gomes, back in the starting line-up in place of Carlo Cudicini, let his eccentricity shine through, causing confusion in defence, but Spurs were close to adding a third twice in quick succession as Defoe played Lennon through only to see his shot blocked, while Defoe himself could only turn the ball wide from Huddlestone’s pass shortly after.
Portsmouth began to pepper Gomes’ goal from distance but could not hit the target and trouble the Brazilian, though Smith forced the ‘keeper into showing his quality, tipping the striker’s lob wide.
With half an hour remaining the hosts were well and truly back in the game, as Prince-Boateng volleyed powerfully, beating Gomes at his near post when he perhaps should have done better, before a moment of madness from Defoe saw him removed from the game.
The England international was caught in a tangle of legs with Aaron Mokoena and needlessly stamped out at the South African, who made the most of the fairly innocuous looking altercation.
Peter Crouch was introduced for Robbie Keane, becoming the fourth Spurs player to come up against his old club, and his delightful skill on the edge of the penalty area created a shooting opportunity, though the tall forward could only flash wide.
Gomes was again called into action again on the 68th minute, as Dindane’s cross beat Benoit Assou-Ekotto and was met by Hassan Yebda, who volleyed emphatically at goal, forcing the former PSV Eindhoven shot stopper into a fine parry.
With less than 10 minutes left, Portsmouth again went dramatically close to levelling, as substitute Nadir Belhadj crossed deep to anopther replacement, Frederic Piquionne, though the Frenchman could only head back across goal, narrowly missing at the far post.
Spurs defended well in injury time though, and Brown’s dismissal saw the end of any meaningful action, as Pompey lost their fifth consecutive home game.