A devastating defeat for Manchester United today at the hands of old Liverpool nemesis Milan Baros paved the way for a completely unique set of FA Cup finalists this year.
After a dreary and depressing start, Manchester United dominated play in the second half with the usual hard, fast passing action.
They hit the upright and managed to have the ball cleared within an inch of the line (Michael Carrick against Sylvian Distin). Despite intense pressure and sublime passing at times, they still could not score.
During the break Edwin Van Der Sar was injured, and was then substituted for Thomasz Kuzczack. In turn, Kuzczack was sent off for the last twenty minutes of the match.
It was a Pompey break that led to Baros storming into the penalty area. Kuzczack went to ground and Baros knocked the ball past him, fell, and the whistle blew for a penalty.
A red card appeared soon after for the hapless United goalkeeper.
Portsmouth fans were ecstatic. It appeared to them to be no more than they deserved: Baros was scythed down by the keeper in a golden goalscoring opportunity.
But this evening we see that the TV replay tells a very different story.
Not only was Baros not in control of the ball when he was intercepted by Kuzczack, he was in fact not touched by Kuzczack. His "simulation," as the commentator called it, fooled the referee.
A dive? It most certainly was, but blatant? No, it was a dive of epic proportions that put Pompey into the last four of the FA Cup.
It must be noted that Portsmouth played, for the most part, a succinct and tactical game. They soaked up the pressure from Manchester United, played to the breaks, and got very lucky—such is football.
Manchester United—out of the FA Cup. Portsmouth—into the semi-finals.