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Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Saturday, 13 September 2008 16:58 UK

Portsmouth 2-1 Middlesbrough

Jermain Defoe was the architect of a Portsmouth win over Middlesbrough
Defoe was in lethal mood in front of goal, scoring twice

Striker Jermain Defoe starred for Portsmouth as they came back from a goal down to beat Middlesbrough.

Boro had taken the lead when Mido was found by striker partner Afonso Alves and drove in a low shot.

Pompey bounced back in determined fashion and the impressive Defoe lashed in a shot after Peter Crouch's pass.

Boro were denied a penalty after Nadir Belhadj appeared to push Stewart Downing and Defoe secured the win when he volleyed in.

Defoe's double and livewire display will help make up for his disappointment of being dropped by England for the win in Croatia in midweek.

'Great performance' satisfies Redknapp

His goals also secured a first win at home for Portsmouth since 29 March, although the home side almost went behind after four minutes.

Didier Digard crossed a ball across the home side's six yard box but Brazilian striker Alves failed to make contact with only keeper David James to beat.

Pompey's main threat came from the left of midfield where Armand Traore was up against former Arsenal team-mate Justin Hoyte.

Traore crossed for Crouch at the far post and the striker's eyes must have lit up as he prepared to nod the ball home only for defender Chris Riggott to steal in and flick the ball wide.

Crouch then hooked a shot high as Boro failed to clear a Sean Davis corner as Pompey started to build up a head of steam before going behind.

Partnership is working out for Defoe

Two Pompey players failed to clear a long ball from Riggott, and Mido, who was sandwiched in between them, got in a header which fell to Alves.

Alves then played a low ball into the Egyptian striker and he clinically held off Sol Campbell to fire in.

Pompey picked themselves up and tried to engineer an equaliser but, despite good build-up play, they were lacking a cutting edge in the final third.

But they had an extra air of determination about them after the break and raised the tempo of the match.


Some quick passing unsettled Middlesbrough and a deserved leveller came when Defoe angled in a quickly-taken strike after Crouch's pass.

The game opened up into an exciting affair and Boro thought they should have had a penalty for the clumsy challenge by Belhadj on Downing.

Boro were forced to wait on opportunities to mount a threat on the counter-attack as Pompey pushed forward for the win.

The impressive Defoe was the main architect behind the home side's play and his backheel gave Davis a clear sight of goal.

We lost it in second half - Southgate

The midfielder attempted to chip keeper Turnbull from the edge of the box only to send his effort disappointingly high.

Defoe then wriggled his way through the Boro defence but Turnbull saved as the striker tried to put a shot through his legs.

The England striker was not to be denied though, and he latched onto a mistake by Middlesbrough's Downing who inadvertently sent a ball over the top of the Boro defence allowing Defoe to volley home.

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp: "Lassana Diarra was magnificent.

"It was one of the best performances I have seen from a player at Portsmouth - he was that good. But, overall, it was a good performance.

"I thought we played well, even in the first half when we controlled the game but got caught by a sucker punch."

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate thought Stewart Downing might have won a penalty and said: "I imagine it would have been a free-kick anywhere else on the field.

"In the build-up to their first goal Mido was down with an eye injury.

"And we had also been trying to get Didier Digard back on the field 45 seconds after treatment."

Portsmouth: James, Kaboul (Belhadj 46), Campbell, Distin, Johnson, Diop (Utaka 46), Davis, Diarra, Armand Traore (Hreidarsson 84), Crouch, Defoe.
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Nugent, Pamarot, Mvuemba.

Booked: Defoe, Johnson.

Goals: Defoe 59, 86.

Middlesbrough: Turnbull, Hoyte, Huth, Riggott, Pogatetz, Aliadiere, O'Neil, Digard (Taylor 70), Downing, Alves, Mido (Adam Johnson 84).
Subs Not Used: Jones, Wheater, Porritt, Walker, Craddock.

Booked: Mido.

Goals: Mido 24.

Att: 19,425

Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Portsmouth's Jermain Defoe on 8.29 (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.

see also
Premier League as it happened
13 Sep 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
13 Sep 08 |  Football

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