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Avram Grant salutes Portsmouth spirit after FA Cup win

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Win is more than big - Grant

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant saluted the pride and determination of his players after Pompey beat Birmingham to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

The club have had four owners this season, are in administration and facing a winding-up order from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

But two goals from Frederic Piquionne secured a 2-0 win and a return to Wembley for the 2008 FA Cup winners.

"You can break many things but you cannot break our spirit," said Grant.

"The spirit of the players and fans was high. Other people maybe thought we would break but nobody can break our spirit.

"I'm very proud, when you see players of the age of Hermann Hreidarsson and David James giving their heart for the team. It's important for the spirit of football."

Grant, who completed a lap of honour after the final whistle at a jubilant Fratton Park, also insisted taking the Premier League's bottom club to Wembley was as satisfying as reaching the Champions League final with Chelsea.

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"There are some moments in your life you always remember and this is one of them," he stated.

"I was in the Champions League final and was happy, this is the same."

Birmingham can count themselves considerably unlucky that a late effort from Liam Ridgewell was disallowed.

The defender rose to head at goal from close range and although Portsmouth keeper James clawed the ball clear, TV replays showed it had just crossed the line.

"We should have had a lifeline with a perfectly legitimate goal but unfortunately it wasn't to be," said Birmingham manager Alex McLeish.

"It would have given us a lifeline and I wouldn't bet against my team coming back if we got that goal. They've done that this season.

"You would expect an official at this level to see that. They do the fitness tests and part of that is the vision side of things. It's a shame the guy missed that, I'm sure he will be hurting about it.

McLeish calls for goal-line technology

"I don't see how he could be obscured because he was over the line. Nobody was over the line so he should have been on that corner flag. James actually landed and caught it behind the line."

The incident came shortly after Fifa announced they would not be pursuing goal-line technology.

"My stance has always been that they should," added McLeish.

"That is a frustrating decision by Fifa because I think they are doing their officials a disservice.

"It's not easy for their guys to see it in a split second. We feel he should have seen that but in a split second, you see offside decisions (given).

"I know you can't stop every part of the game but certainly for key decisions in a major competition like the FA Cup, your chances of getting to semi-finals and finals are few and far between for a little club like us."



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see also
Saturday football as it happened
06 Mar 10 |  Football
Saturday's football photos
06 Mar 10 |  Football
McLeish calls for goal-line technology
06 Mar 10 |  Birmingham
Portsmouth 2-0 Birmingham
06 Mar 10 |  FA Cup
Grant punished over ref outburst
04 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth given 30m price tag
04 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey administrator role probed
02 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Kiwi businessman eyes Pompey deal
01 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Administrator vows to save Pompey
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth enter administration
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Points deduction unjust - Grant
27 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Grant seals return to Portsmouth
07 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth


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