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Wednesday 06 March 2013

On this day: Mendes sparks Portsmouth 'miracle'

In the series on Premier League's history, we look at a vital win for Portsmouth over Manchester City

  • Portsmouth's win played a crucial role in keeping them in the Premier League

  • Pedro Mendes fires home his first goal for Portsmouth against Man City rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day: 11 March 2006 Portsmouth 2-1 Manchester City

An unforgettable day for Portsmouth fans as Pedro Mendes wrote himself into Pompey folklore with two stunning goals that breathed life into the club's survival hopes.

Pompey - without a win in 2006, second from bottom of the Barclays Premier League table and eight points from safety - went into the match desperately in search of only their fifth win of the campaign.

Mendes, a January signing from Tottenham Hotspur, put his side into the lead on the hour mark with a drive into the bottom corner from 25 yards out when Andres D'Alessandro's corner was half-cleared.

"It was a must-win match to keep us up there with a chance"
Harry Redknapp

But Manchester City responded seven minutes from time, defender Richard Dunne heading home after Joey Barton's corner was helped on by Micah Richards and Georgios Samaras.

With time ticking down, it looked as if Pompey would be denied until Mendes's intervention with practically the last kick of the match.

Three minutes into injury time, Mendes picked up the ball 30 yards out after another corner and after dinking the ball past the covering Manchester City player, he drilled a rocket of a shot into the top left-hand corner past a stranded David James to send Fratton Park into delirium.

"We were seconds away from being dead and buried," said a delighted Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp afterwards. "It was a must-win match to keep us up there with a chance. And we have given ourselves that chance.

"It's going to be hard but you can only keep going and what today's result has done is keep us in there. It was no more than Pedro Mendes deserved because he was fantastic."

The win was the catalyst to an extraordinary end of season run as Redknapp's men pulled off the great escape. They lost only two of their remaining nine matches after that Man City victory and ended up four points clear of the drop zone in the final table.

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Key Points

  • looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A piece of action from each day of the year will be selected
  • Remember Pedro Mendes's two stunning goals for Portsmouth against Man City?