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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 17:22 GMT
Reading 0-2 Portsmouth
By Nabil Hassan

Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell was making his 50th appearance for Portsmouth
Portsmouth earned a well-deserved three points with victory over Reading.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men after only four minutes with Ibrahima Sonko sent off for bringing down Benjani.

Niko Kranjcar hit the post with the resulting penalty but minutes later Sol Campbell made it 1-0, bundling the ball home after Marcus Hahnemann's fumble.

Benjani also saw a header hit the bar in the first half before John Utaka sealed the win on 66 minutes by beating Nicky Shorey and rounding Hahnemann.

Reading's afternoon got off to an awful start with Mike Dean showing Sonko a red card for taking Benjani's legs away as he raced through on goal.

Kranjcar failed to convert from the spot, hitting Hahnemann's right post, but Harry Redknapp's side were soon in front.

Campbell, making his 50th appearance for Pompey, bundled home from close range after Hahnemann spilled a cross into the grateful veteran's path.


With a man advantage, Portsmouth had the better of the first half with Benjani in particular causing problems on the break.

He, Utaka and Sulley Muntari all came close to increasing the lead but Reading could have been level just a couple of minutes before half-time.

Striker Kevin Doyle saw his shot strike the legs of David James and run agonisingly wide for a corner.

Ibrahima Sonko
Ibrahima Sonko was sent off after only four minutes

Just before the break, Benjani powered a Glen Johnson cross against the Reading cross-bar with Redknapp's men having to be content with just a one-goal lead.

After half-time Reading continued to struggle to break down a well-organised Portsmouth defence marshalled brilliantly by Campbell.

The hosts were reduced to half-chances and James Harper sent a half-volley over the Pompey bar from 18 yards.

Portsmouth continued to look dangerous on the break and with 25 minutes remaining Utaka made it 2-0 with a brilliant solo goal.

The Nigerian striker latched onto a hopeful long ball from Johnson and outpaced England international Shorey before taking the ball round Hahnemann to slot into the empty net.

Johnson saw his powerful shot tipped round the post by Hahnemann late on, but by that stage Reading were already a beaten team.

  • Reading manager Steve Coppell:

  • "We were so looking forward to the game and very early on we are down to 10 men and almost immediately have lost a goal.

    "It was a poor goal and a mistake and after that we are always going to struggle.

    "I have to credit my players, they worked their socks off but it is hard to come back when you are down to 10 men.

    "There is no point moaning about the sending-off we just have to deal with it."

  • Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp:

  • "It was an amazing start and I don't think the ref really had any choice but to send the man off.

    "We had some good chances to finish the game off and at 1-0 I always felt we needed a second.

    "John took his goal very well and has incredible pace and it was a cool finish.

    "Our away form is incredible and we're happy with 34 points at this stage of the season."

    Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey (De la Cruz 71), Hunt, Harper, Cisse, Convey (Bikey 7), Doyle (Long 83), Kitson.
    Subs Not Used: Federici, Lita.

    Sent Off: Sonko (3).

    Booked: Murty, Cisse, Bikey.

    Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Utaka, Diop, Hughes (Lauren 83), Muntari, Kranjcar (Taylor 89), Mwaruwari (Kanu 63).
    Subs Not Used: Begovic, Nugent.

    Booked: Hughes.

    Goals: Campbell 9, Utaka 66.

    Att: 24,084

    Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Portsmouth's Niko Kranjcar 7.61 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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