Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The FA Cup

The match

Chelsea came and brought the pressure, but they were unable to put one in the back of the net. This was through a combination of great keeping from David James and the goal posts. Of course poor finishing played a roll as well. Pompey were not without there chances, they were trying to hit Chelsea on the counter and had some success, but they were plagued by poor finishing as well. Kalou and Piquionne both missed absolute sitters in the first half.

At half time there was a definite feeling that Pompey could grab the victory, manly because there seemed to be some magic preventing Chelsea from scoring. When Pompey won a penalty I fully admit to thinking that we were going to get it done, then came the first of evening's poorly taken penalties. When Boateng missed the game changed, Chelsea felt they caught a break and immediately capitalised. Drogba hit a wonderful free kick and Chelsea won a match that they dominated.

I think that Avram Grant and the Pompey players did an excellent job is what was likely their last performance for the club.

The Pub
I watched the match live at midnight Australian time in the Charles Dickens Pub in downtown Melbourne. Luckily I was joined there by members of Pompey Down Under, all in all there were about a dozen singing Pompey fans, myself included. It was a great atmosphere at the pub, it felt like it was full of Pompey fans, until Drogba scored that is. There were apparently a number of Chelsea fans sitting in the pub, who had previously been as quiet as a mouse. Not one of them screamed out when Kalou missed the sitter in the first half. It was quite a shock to all of the Pompey fans to discover that there were in fact actual Chelsea fans in the bar, but I think it shows that if points were given for fans our league positions may well have been reversed.

Boateng - Ballack
For those that don't know Kevin Prince Boateng recently pulled an Asmir Begovic and switched international allegiances from the country he represented at U21 level (Germany) to another country (Ghana). I wonder where he got the idea... (Begovic and Boateng were teammates for the first half of the season at Pompey) In case you were curious Boateng's father is from Ghana. To continue with storyline's that are all too familiar to Canadian fans... Boateng's brother (well half brother) plays for Germany and is a part of their World Cup Squad. Even more interesting is that Ghana & Germany are in the same group in South Africa. We actually shouldn't be surprised that Ghana recruited Kevin Prince Boateng afterall they tried the same thing in the last World Cup when they tried to recruit Freddy Adu. (USA was in Ghana's group in Germany) This was the situation ahead of what happened in the FA Cup.

Ballack went for a header and arrived late, in the process he deposited an elbow on the head of Aruna Dindane (who won the header) Dindane was awarded a free kick for this. Kevin Prince Boateng confronted Ballack about the elbow, and no doubt said a few things in German, and Ballack replied with a slap to Boateng's face. Had the ref seen it, it would have been a red card. To Boateng's credit he didn't flop on to the ground and roll around to draw the card. However Kevin Prince Boateng is well known for being a hothead, and his fewer red cards this season was seen as an improvement. It was this hothead that came in late and injured Ballack. We now know that Ballack will miss the World Cup with the injury that he sustained as a result of Boateng's challenge. That is a cruel blow to deal to any player.

Final Thoughts
Congrats to Chelsea on their first ever double, Congrats to Portsmouth for a fantastic cup run, and thanks to Avram Grant and the Pompey players for leaving it all on the field. Next season will be full of changes for Pompey as we rebuild from zero. Play Up Pompey!