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Last Updated: Monday, 30 August, 2004, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Portsmouth 4-3 Fulham
Eyal Berkovic (left) and Yakubu celebrate a Portsmouth goal
Portsmouth edged past Fulham after a seven-goal thriller at Fratton Park.

Pompey raced out of the blocks and Eyal Berkovic's volley gave them the lead before debutant Ricardo Fuller was fouled and Yakubu scored from the spot.

Yakubu slotted in a third from Fuller's neat pass but Fulham struck back, Andy Cole heading Luis Boa Morte's cross in before Boa Morte converted Cole's pass.

Yakubu competed his hat-trick with a cool finish but Carlos Bocanegra headed home to ensure Pompey had to hang on.

Pompey started well and Fuller - making his debut - neatly wriggled away from two tackles but sent his left-foot effort into the arms of Edwin van der Sar.

Fulham quickly hit back and only a fabulously-timed challenge from Linvoy Primus prevented Tomasz Radzinski from slotting home Claus Jensen's cross.

KEY MOMENTS
19 mins: Berkovic's sizzler puts Pompey in the lead
21 mins: Yakubu's penalty goes in off the crossbar
28 mins: Yakubu fires in a third with his left foot
39 mins: Cole heads home to pull a goal back
41 mins: Boa Morte slots in
72 mins: Yakubu hits hat-trick
75 mins: Bocanegra reduces the deficit again

But the hosts made their next chance count as the ball fell to Berkovic on the edge of the box and the Israeli brilliantly volleyed the ball into the bottom corner.

Fulham nearly replied just a minute later as Radzinski burst through and shot, but Dejan Stefanovic timed his interception perfectly to deny the Canadian.

Pompey then doubled their advantage when Fuller went on a run and was brought down in the box by Boa Morte, Yakubu crashing a coolly-taken penalty in off the underside of the bar.

Fulham continued to create chances at the other end, Radzinski forcing a save from Shaka Hislop and Papa Bouba Diop heading over from eight yards.

But before the half hour they were three-down, Fuller linking up well with Yakubu and the Nigerian drilling his left-foot shot past a despairing Van der Sar.

After Nigel Quashie's drive sizzled past the post Fulham stunned the hosts with two goals in two minutes to haul themselves back into the game.

First Cole latched onto Boa Morte's left-wing cross to head over Hislop and into the net and then Boa Morte took Cole's pass before slotting past Hislop's dive.

Pompey must have been shell-shocked at the break but came out determined to increase their now-slender advantage.

Berkovic's goalbound shot crashed into Moritz Volz's face and away before Steve Stone's left-foot volley was blocked and Fuller shot straight at Van der Sar.

But Harry Redknapp's side had not learned their defensive lessons and after backing off Boa Morte the Portuguese fired wide with Cole demanding a cross.

On the hour mark Sylvain Legwinski missed a golden chance to level, receiving Boa Morte's pass ten yards out unmarked, but Hislop raced out to smother the shot.

Ten minutes later Hislop produced a contender for save of the season, Cole's six-yard header forcing the Trinadadian to leap across to his left and tip the ball away from his top corner.

The save proved crucial, as Pompey raced up the other end and Berkovic fed Yakubu, the striker calmly stroking home for his hat-trick with defenders at a premium.

Fulham again refused to lie down and Boa Morte's free-kick from the left found Bocanegra, who headed home to ensure a tense finale.


Portsmouth: Hislop, Primus, De Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Unsworth, Stone, Quashie, Berger, Berkovic (LuaLua 79), Fuller, Yakubu (Taylor 88).
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Griffin, O'Neil.

Goals: Berkovic 19, Yakubu 22 pen, 28, 72.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Volz, Goma, Knight, Bocanegra, Jensen, Diop, Legwinski (McBride 86), Boa Morte, Cole, Radzinski (John 68).
Subs Not Used: Crossley, Pembridge, McKinlay.

Booked: Legwinski, Knight.

Goals: Cole 39, Boa Morte 41, Bocanegra 75.

Att: 19,728.

Ref: B Knight (Kent).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Five Live's Jonathan Pearce


Interview: Fulham boss Chris Coleman




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