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Match Report - Fulham 2 Portsmouth 0

last updated Tuesday 25th November 2003, 8:19 AM
Fulham striker Louis Saha
Fulham striker Louis Saha destroys Portsmouth
with two goals in three minutes
Louis Saha Stories
Louis Saha fired Fulham into fifth spot with a brace against Portsmouth at Loftus Road as Patrik Berger saw red for foul and abusive language towards referee Alan Wiley.

Harry Redknapp's men are yet to record an away victory in The Premiership and were undone by a fantastic first half double from Saha.

Portsmouth started the brighter of the two sides with a succession of corners and luckily for Fulham, Jerome Bonnissel was on the line to deal with a Dejan Stefanovic header to prevent the visitors taking the lead with 16 minutes played.

Four minutes later Yakubu Aiyegbeni should have given Pompey the lead when Steve Stone picked him out unmarked, but the Nigerian's touch was just too heavy as he turned inside the sliding cover of Moritz Volz and Edwin van der Sar was able to gather.

Against the run of play though it was The Cottagers who took the lead when a hopeful ball into the box fell to Frenchman Saha, who took a touch before delivering a deadly finish that gave debutant Harald Wapenaar, in for the injured Shaka Hislop, no chance 15 minutes before half time.

Two minutes later, the former Metz front man doubled the lead with a fantastic header from a Lee Clark cross, following good passing from the hosts in midfield.

Portsmouth came out with renewed vigour in the second half with Gary O'Neil testing van der Sar early on after being teed up by Teddy Sheringham.

Sheringham felt he should have had a penalty on 55 minutes when his legs became tangled with Volz's after more sustained Pompey pressure but referee Wiley saw no infringement.

Saha was withdrawn and replaced by Facundo Sava, and the Argentine was unfortunate not to add a third when he did ever so well to reach Volz's cross but sadly, his effort crashed against the bar with 12 minutes remaining.

Before being replaced by Sava on 70 minutes, because of concern over a slight hamstring injury, Saha might have had a hat-trick had not Steed Malbranque delayed his pass after Portsmouth had committed too many players forward.

Match Stats Fulham Pompey
Goals 2 0
Goal attempts 8 12
On Target 4 6
Hit Woodwork 1 0
Corners 2 11
Off sides 2 4
Fouls 9 16
Yellows 0 3
Reds 0 1
Possession 48% 52%
source: sky
Stone, Sebastien Schemmel and Steve Sherwood all picked up yellow cards and Teddy Sheringham also clashed with Volz.

Pompey's fate was finally sealed though with 10 minutes to go, when midfielder Berger was sent off for saying something in passing after Wiley turned down a half-hearted penalty appeal by the visitors as Yakubu, under pressure from Knight, tumbled in the box.

In between those bouts of indiscipline Fulham continued to push forward with Sava hitting the bar with a header, while Junicho Inamoto also went close.

The Berger incident summed up a dire night for the South Coast club and leaves them looking anxiously over their shoulders in the table while Fulham sit just outside the Champions League places.

Van der Sar, Volz, Melville, Knight, Bonnissel, Legwinski, Clark, Malbranque, Hayles (Inamoto 68), Sean Davis, Saha (Sava 70).

Subs Not Used: Crossley, Djetou, Pratley.

Goals: Saha 30, 33.

Wapenaar, Stefanovic, Foxe (Taylor 60), De Zeeuw, Schemmel, Sherwood, Stone (Burton 73), Berger, O'Neil (Smertin 60), Sheringham, Ayegbini.

Subs Not Used: Srnicek, Zivkovic.

Sent Off: Berger (82).

Booked: Stone, Schemmel, Sherwood.

Att: 15,624 Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).
Source sky
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