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Portsmouth Take Fourth Place In EAFF Champions League

Jamie Tregaskiss and Ray Westbrook close down their opponent in Sunday’s third place play-off - Image: Jake Kirkman

Writes: Evan Halliday

This year’s rendition of the Champions League has concluded, Portsmouth claimed fourth place in the competition, proving that they are more than adept to be successful at the top level – the players, staff and everyone involved should have their heads held high after a terrific performance and achievement.

The squad arrived in Spain in high spirits, hoping to continue their excellent domestic form, that saw them already win two trophies, as they looked to take on Europe’s best.

Portsmouth couldn’t have asked for a better start to life in the tournament, with two wins from two games on the opening day, the team making their mark in Malaga.

The Opening Ceremony kicked off the tournament on Friday, getting the Estadio De Futbol Munoz Perez up on its feet before Pompey faced off with Paris FC to get their European campaign underway.

Members of the Portsmouth squad pictured at the opening ceremony - Image: Jake Kirkman

After struggling to get into their groove in the first half of action, Portsmouth began to go through the gears as their opening tie developed, putting three past their French opponents without reply to claim their first three points.

This form continued into Friday evening, to the dismay of Bohemian F.C, as Pompey’s striker TJ Yates claimed the match ball on his way to helping his side to a 4-2 victory against the Irish giants, simultaneously securing a semi-final appearance for the south coast club.

It was a perfect first day for Portsmouth, as the squad headed back to their hotel sitting second in Group B with the maximum six points from two games.

Free-scoring Sahinbey awaited Pompey on Saturday morning, the Turkish side sat top of the group on goal difference, scoring 18 across their two previous games.

The group positions remained unchanged after the 50 minutes as Sahinbey dealt Portsmouth their first defeat of the competition, setting the English side up for a semi-final against Group A’s best Wisla Krakow later in the day.

Unfortunately, Portsmouth couldn’t prevent back-to-back defeats but by no means was it down to a lack of effort. Goalkeeper Thomas Atkinson was a standout performer making numerous world-class saves throughout the game behind Pompey’s resilient defence which kept everything out until the dying minutes of the 50, when a low strike found the bottom corner.

Thomas Atkinson faces up his opponent in Saturday’s final group fixture vs Sahinbey - Image: Jake Kirkman

Krakow’s solitary last-minute goal was all that could separate the two sides as Portsmouth’s chances of progressing to the final were diminished.

Sporting Amp Football suffered a similar fate as Pompey and the two clubs would go head-to-head in a third-place play-off on Sunday to conclude their tournaments.

The Coppa Italia champions edged the Blues to third place in their final game as Sporting took a 2-0 lead into half time, which they never relinquished, the game finished 3-0.

Despite this, Portsmouth put on a fantastic display throughout the tournament, providing a threat to everyone they faced, handling themselves professionally in times of adversity and representing the charity in the best possible way.

Everyone at EAFA is immensely proud of what Portsmouth have achieved and there is no doubt that the Champions League will come round again for this group of players.


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