Benfica Humiliate Poor Pompey

Last updated : 02 August 2009 By Jim Bonner
Benfica gave Portsmouth a football lesson tonight in Guimaraes and Pompey's performance has given all of our fans a huge cause for concern going into the new season.

Let's not beat around the bush here. The Portuguese side were good, brilliant at times but many of the players in blue shirts were embarrassingly awful and this game would not have strengthened the little faith the fans have shown Paul Hart as his side could only muster one meaningful shot all game.

The rout began when Oscar Cardoza curled in a sublime free kick that crashed the underside of the crossbar, giving Asmir Begovic no chance. The Paraguayan got a second after the Benfica attack, orchestrated by the excellent Pablo Aimar, carved Pompey open and volleyd in Di Maria's cross.

The second half saw Steve Finnan and Aaron Mokoena make their debuts but the former limped off with a hamstring problem after 70 minutes after having the only meaningful shot in the game - a long range effort that was gathered at the second attempt by the Benfica goalkeeper.

The opposition had clearly taken their foot off the gas but were still more than capable of taking advantage of a poor Portsmouth side and they got a third when Weldon rose above two Pompey defenders to head in Carlos Martins' cross.

The humiliation was complete when youngster Luke Wilkinson turned another Benfica cross into his own net but if he didn't then there were two men in red shirts waiting for an easy tap in anyway.

I'm glad it was only four because it could so easily have been six or seven. I was disgusted at how easy we were taken apart by Benfica tonight and some of our players did not do the shirt justice.

Younes Kaboul had a few moments where he played us into deep trouble with lazy passes and lack of concentration, Nadir Belhadj was wasteful and often gotten the better of by the opposition whilst the majority of the midfield were awful.

Eugen Bopp should never be playing for a Premier League side based on this showing and neither should Hayden Mullins. Angelos Basinas hardly shone either but at least Niko Kranjcar looked the part when he had the ball and Fabrice Pancrate tried his hardest and looked semi-useful on the right.

There's no point in mentioning how John Utaka or Kanu did up front on their own because they rarely saw the ball. Paul Hart should use this game to understand that we can't play one up front this season and be effective, Kanu and Utaka need a strike partner to have any influence on the game.

Pompey didn't bother with the meaningless penalty shootout after the game because we'll finish bottom of the table in the Guimaraes cup anyway, but even though this was only a pre-season game it was a harsh reality check and a sobering vision for the seasont to come if things don't change.

Paul Hart has two weeks to sort things out or else Portsmouth FC will be relegated come May 2010.