POMPEY WIN THE 2008 FA CUP FINAL
Saturday, May 17, 2008
“FA Cup Final: Victory for
“Redknapp for England”
“Undoubtedly Portsmouth were the best side after they scored, but the game
was very even and the most fluid football came from Cardiff early in the game. But
for the game, when Portsmouth scored it was a little bit like West Brom, they
strangled the life out of the game. It was always going to be one of those where
the first goal is absolutely vital because Portsmouth are one of those teams that
are mainly set up to contain and when they go ahead it is going to be a really
tough ask for any team to come back into it. If they go behind then we have to see
a different side to them. I felt when they scored that was it, they defended well
and bossed the game after that and you couldn't see Cardiff getting back into
it.” - Steve Claridge
“Harry heaped with praise for triumph”
Former FA Cup finalist Geoff Thomas is convinced that without Harry Redknapp,
Portsmouth would not have been able to attract the calibre of player that helped
them win this season's competition.
Pompey triumphed 1-0 over Cardiff at Wembley on Saturday to add an FA Cup trophy
to their silverware cabinet for the first time in 69 years.
Redknapp has galvanised the South Coast side since his return to Fratton Park,
with players of the ilk of David James and Sol Campbell joining his revolution.
"[Redknapp] is an asset to the club and an attraction to players" Thomas told
Setanta Sports News. "These players wouldn't normally have gone to Portsmouth.
Harry Redknapp is a big magnet to the club."
Thomas, who lost in the 1990 final with Crystal Palace, feels Cardiff can stand
proud after their display at Wembley, even if he concedes defeat will be a bitter
pill for them to swallow.
"Cardiff went out, started the game well and dominated 45 minutes," he added. "On
the back of [Nwankwo] Kanu's goal, the game slowly went away from Cardiff in the
"It is a terrible place to lose because you go there with the intention of
enjoying every minute, but when you're on that pitch you want to enjoy every
"You go back on the pitch and all you do is look up and watch the opposing captain
lift the cup."
FA Cup Final - Portsmouth player ratings
David James: Important moment of the match was when he saved Paul Parry's
shot with his feet early on. Overall was a solid performance.7.5.
Glen Johnson: The former Chelsea defender was guilty of a couple of lapses
in concentration that were not punished. Important late block.6.
Hermann Hreidarsson: Solid performance without offering much in the way of
attacking down the flank. 7.
Sol Campbell: Couple of nervy moments for the England defender but led well
from centre-back in general. 6.5
Sylvain Distin: The Frenchman never seemed particularly troubled and was
able to keep Cardiff's strikers relatively quiet. 7.5
Pedro Mendes: Busy performance in midfield from the former Spurs man,
protecting his defence but using the ball well. 7.
Sulley Muntari: Driving runs forward, and almost doubled Pompey's lead. His
presence helped the Premier League side win the midfield battle. 6.
Lassana Diarra: The ex-Gunner showed an attacking ambition at Wembley that
is not usually associated with the defensive midfielder. 8.
John Utaka: His whipped-in cross led to Kanu's goal but he was in and out
of the game in general. 6.
Niko Kranjcar: The Croatia midfielder was a decent outlet for Harry
Redknapp's side on the left. Perhaps did not get enough crosses in but was a
threat for Pompey. 6.5
Nwankwo Kanu: Could have been a miserable day when he missed an open goal
but was in the right place at the right time to break the deadlock. 7.
Substitutes: David Nugent (Utaka 69): The former Preston striker had
a fierce volley palmed away by Enckelman. 6.
Papa Bouba Diop (Mendes 78): Brought on to keep it tight in the Pompey
Milan Baros: (Kanu 87) Not enough time to get in the game. 5.
Kanu scoring Pompey's goal in the 2008 FA Cup Final
Kanu hailed his match-winning performance in the FA Cup final as the finest in his
illustrious career after scoring the 37th-minute goal that took the trophy back to
Portsmouth for the first time in 69 years. The 31-year-old Nigeria striker, who
has won the Champions League, Olympics, FA Cup and Premier League titles, claimed
that nothing could compare to his winning strike and man-of-the-match award.
Portsmouth players praised manager Harry Redknapp following the club's FA Cup final success. A solitary Nwankwo Kanu goal was enough to secure a 1-0 victory over Cardiff at Wembley on Saturday.
And a host of Pompey players have admitted their delight at helping the South Coast club to their first FA Cup final success since 1939.
Defender Glen Johnson praised the role of Redknapp as he told Sky Sports News: "He has giving us the belief at the start. "Everyone dreams of playing in a final and our dream has come true."
Johnson's defensive colleague Sylvain Distin also revealed how pleased he was to have fulfilled the challenge he sought when moving to Pompey from Manchester City last May. "The whole team, the whole squad, we all graft and work hard for each other," said Distin. "For me it has been fantastic. "I came here for a challenge and I have got it. It can't ask for anything more."
Meanwhile, midfielder Lassana Diarra, who joined Pompey from Arsenal in the January transfer window insists he was unconcerned by the scrappy nature of the Wembley final. "It was a good game," explained Diarra. "They (Cardiff) deserved to be here. We played our football, but the most important thing is that we won."
Hermann Hreidarsson was also ecstatic to have finally got his hands on the trophy after being forced to wait for what seemed like an eternity for the game to come around. "It's been a long time coming," he said. "We've been waiting for this game for a while, we fancied our chances but it's a massive relief to have won it. "They played well, but we had a few chances and got 1-0 up."The Icelandic full-back was also left in no doubt that glory under the Wembley arch represented his finest moment in football."By a mile," he said. "It's fantastic."
Kanu Celebrates after scoring