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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 August, 2003, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Pompey make dream start
Sheringham celebrates his goal

Portsmouth 2-1 Aston Villa

Portsmouth's veteran summer signings Teddy Sheringham and Patrik Berger gave the Premiership newcomers a winning start against Aston Villa.

Former England striker Sheringham and Czech Republic midfield man Berger struck either side of half-time to make it a miserable start for new Villa boss David O'Leary at a vibrant Fratton Park.

Gareth Barry pulled a goal back for Villa later on from the spot - but then piled on the misery for O'Leary when he was sent off for dissent with three minutes left.

Portsmouth survived an anxious last few moments, but held on to make it a triumphant return to the top flight after romping to the First Division title last season.

Villa new boy Gavin McCann's debut got off to an eventful start as he had to leave the field after 10 minutes for lengthy treatment and five stiches in a head wound.

He returned blood-spattered but was then harshly booked by referee Graham Barber for a foul on Sheringham.

KEY MOMENTS
41 mins: Sheringham puts Portsmouth in front.
62 mins: Berger doubles Portsmouth's advantage.
82 mins: Barry pulls a goal back for Villa from the spot.
87 mins: Barry sent off for dissent aimed at the fourth official.

McCann was swiftly followed by Portsmouth debutant Amdy Faye after a clash with Lee Hendrie.

Villa had the better of the first half - posing a particular danger from set-pieces.

Marcus Allback had a header ruled out for a foul by Alpay - and then the Turkey defender missed a glorious chance to put Villa ahead after 31 minutes.

Barry's free-kick found Alpay totally unmarked eight yards out, but he sent a stooping header wide.

And Villa paid a heavy price when Pompey took the lead through veteran Sheringham three minutes before the interval.

Sheringham had already posted the warning signals with a 20-yard free-kick that drifted inches wide.

And the veteran made no mistake when he scored from close range after Thomas Sorensen blocked an effort from Yakubu Ayegbeni.

Villa threatened briefly after the break, but it was Pompey who doubled their advantage after 62 minutes,

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And it was another new boy Berger, who applied a brilliant left foot finish to instant control to punish hesitation in the Villa defence.

Villa offered nothing in response until they were offered a very fortunate lifeline with eight minutes left.

Barry stumbled under challenge from Boris Zivkovic, and referee Barber pointed to the spot despite no obvious contact.

The Villa star recovered to score - but was then sent off five minutes later for dissent aimed at the referee's assistant as Villa's day ended in defeat


Portsmouth: Hislop, Zivkovic, Foxe, De Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Stone, Faye (Schemmel 90), Quashie, Berger, Sheringham, Ayegbini (Pericard 76). Subs not used: Burton, Wapenaar, O'Neil.

Booked: Stefanovic, Faye.

Aston Villa: Sorensen, Delaney, Johnsen, Alpay, Samuel, Hendrie, McCann, Barry, Allback, Whittingham (Hitzlsperger 59), Angel (Crouch 77). Subs not used: Mellberg, De la Cruz, Postma.

Sent off: Barry (87).

Booked: McCann.

Attendance: 20,101.

Referee: G Barber (Hertfordshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Pearce
"Portsmouth have real chance of staying up"


Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp
"It's important we get off to a good start"



SEE ALSO
Dunn shatters Spurs hopes
16 Aug 03  |  Premiership



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