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Football | FA Cup

Kevin Prince Boateng © Action Images

Pompey shock Spurs to reach Cup final

Crisis club Portsmouth stunned Tottenham Hotspur with a 2-0 extra-time win as they reached their second FA Cup final in three years at Wembley on Sunday, just a day after being relegated from the Premier League.

Portsmouth, the 2008 FA Cup winners when now Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was their manager, will face double chasers Chelsea - the team Pompey boss Avram Grant managed when they lost the 2008 Champions League final to Manchester United - in the May 15 final at Wembley.

Frederic Piquionne, on-loan from French club Lyon, scored from close range in the ninth minute of extra-time following former Spurs player Kevin-Prince Boateng's header on from a Mark Wilson free-kick as Tottenham defender Michael Dawson slipped on the much criticised Wembley pitch.

Spurs thought they'd equalised two minutes later but former Pompey striker Peter Crouch's 'goal' was ruled out by referee Alan Wiley for a foul by Niko Kranjcar, another ex-Portsmouth player, on England goalkeeper David James.

Pompey's win was sealed when Boateng scored from the penalty spot with four minutes of extra-time left after striker Aruna Dindane was brought down by Wilson Palacios.

"It's superb, we deserved the win," Porstmouth keeper James told ITV.

"We played very well throughout the team.

"Look what it means to Pompey, it's fantastic.

"We were eight- or nine-to-one (against) to win beforehand but we have proved people wrong."

Tottenham may be fifth in the table and chasing Champions League football but there was little evidence of a gap in class between the Londoners and their south coast opponents.

Portsmouth, bottom of the Premier League and with acknowledged debts of more than £76 million, kicked-off knowing West Ham's win over Sunderland on Saturday meant they'd been relegated.

Arguably, Portsmouth's current financial crisis was sparked when they won the FA Cup at Wembley two years ago - their first major trophy since 1950 - by beating second-tier Cardiff City in the final.

That led to bonus payments and European football, neither of which Portsmouth, who've been through several owners since before the start of the season and whose Fratton Park ground holds only 20 000, could afford.

And their demotion from the Premier League was virtually sealed last month when they were hit with a nine-point deduction for entering administration.

Tottenham, bidding to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1991, including former Portsmouth forwards Crouch and Jermain Defoe, and came into this match having strolled to a 2-0 league win over Pompey last month.

Spurs had the game's first chance in the fifth minute when Vedran Corluka headed towards goal from a corner.

However, Pompey's South Africa star Aaron Mokoena blocked and so prevented Defoe from following-up.

Minutes later Mokoena again cleared from Defoe, at the expense of another corner, as Spurs laid siege to Portsmouth's goal.

But the danger was cleared and Portsmouth saw Piquionne sprint past several Spurs defenders before he shot tamely at goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

Portsmouth looked a threat on the counter-attack and had an excellent chance in the 37th minute only for Piquionne, one-on-one with Gomes, to see his shot saved by the Brazilian's left leg.

James though had to be at full stretch to palm away one-handed a shot from Tom Huddlestone.

Pompey continued to threaten on the break and when the quick Aruna Dindane crossed accurately to the equally speedy Piquionne, his fellow striker should have done better than head straight at Gomes.

Soon afterwards Spurs claimed a penalty after Pompey's Steve Finnan appeared to handle in the area but referee Alan Wiley dismissed the appeals.

And with 20 minutes of the second half left, Mokoena cleared off the line from Crouch, who later grazed the far post with a header.

Crouch could have won the match in stoppage time as he tried to turn in Gareth Bale's shot but James made an excellent block from point-blank range.


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