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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 November 2007, 17:55 GMT
Portsmouth 0-0 Man City
By Chris Bevan

Portsmouth's Glen Johnson battles with Gelson Fernandes
Portsmouth's Glen Johnson battles with Gelson Fernandes
Manchester City stayed in third place in the Premier League table after a battling draw with in-form Portsmouth.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart was kept busy early on and he brilliantly tipped Glen Johnson's shot on to the bar as Pompey poured forward at every opportunity.

The visitors should have scored themselves when Darius Vassell somehow missed from Martin Petrov's cross.

But Pompey continued to press and David Nugent was unlucky to see his deflected shot come back off the post late on.

Only Arsenal have managed more goals than Portsmouth in the Premier League this season and the home side's early play here showed why they have been in such free-scoring form.

City were just grateful that Hart - who has won the battle to become boss Sven-Goran Eriksson's first choice between the sticks, at least until the January transfer window opens - was equal to everything that was thrown at him.

The England Under-21 international had to push away Kanu's shot at his near post and, from the resulting corner, Sean Davis saw his curling shot dip just over the bar.

Pompey right-back Johnson was also getting forward as much as possible and, after testing the water with a long-range effort that was easily collected by Hart, he went close to breaking the deadlock.

The former Chelsea defender forced his way into the area before unleashing a powerful shot that the City keeper did brilliantly to tip on to the crossbar.

City were having to withstand some substantial pressure by this point but they stood firm and Richard Dunne and Micah Richards both made key interceptions as Pompey continued to press.

Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart was in fine form at Fratton Park
Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart was in fine form at Fratton Park

Niko Kranjcar did manage to wriggle free inside the area but he saw his shot fly wide of Hart's far post as City survived again.

It was not all one way traffic however, as City looked to come forward themselves when possible.

The visitors' wide-men Petrov and Stephen Ireland were looking dangerous in patches and Petrov twice shot straight at David James after some neat passing moves opened up Pompey.

And Eriksson's side may not have won on their travels since their opening-day success at West Ham but they could have been celebrating all three points if Vassell had taken a golden opportunity after the break.


The former England international, making a rare start up front, was perfectly placed to slot home after Elano and Petrov combined but instead contrived to shin the ball and send it spinning away from the target.

Elano also tested James after breaking into the area but Harry Redknapp's side resumed control in the closing stages, although they were unable to find the net.

Hart was finally beaten when Pompey subsitute Nugent's shot was deflected past him off Richards but the ball ricocheted back off the inside of the post.

Nugent was denied again by another fine stop soon after, and despite some late pressure, City held on.

  • Portsmouth assistant boss Tony Adams:
    "The players gave us what we asked them to do. We said keep compact and don't let Elano float between the midfield and back four.

    "We created bits, not enough to win the game, but confidence is high. We're picking up points on the road, we've turned into a resilient outfit and are creating and scoring goals.

    "We didn't score one this time but there are a lot of of good signs, a lot of good things happening at Portsmouth."

  • Man City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson:
    "It was important to play differently. We started to defend a bit later, held the team compact and that was important.

    "They hit the post at the end and we were lucky there but we had some chances, we could have scored as well, so it's a fair result.

    "To play good football you have to be solid. We were and, rightly so after the experience we've had recently, we had to change something. We did it and the boys were very good. "

    Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Pamarot, Utaka (Taylor 46), Davis, Muntari, Kranjcar, Kanu (Nugent 63), Mwaruwari.
    Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Pedro Mendes, Hreidarsson.

    Booked: Distin.

    Man City: Hart, Corluka, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Ireland, Hamann, Gelson, Petrov, Elano (Geovanni 90), Vassell (Bianchi 89).
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Ball, Samaras.

    Booked: Garrido.

    Att: 19,529

    Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

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