Saturday 18 November 2017

Portsmouth reap reward after Lens scrap add-on fees for Dindane deal

Klasnic 26, Davies 28
Dindane 54 68

Graham Chase

WATCHING Portsmouth this season has rarely been anything other than a concoction of wonder and pain, feelings Aruna Dindane has grown used to over recent weeks.

The on-loan Ivory Coast forward’s outings were rationed up to the FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month and one more appearance was set to trigger a permanent £4million move from Lens, which is not the kind of deal Portsmouth will doing this summer as they prepare for life in the Championship.

With Lens refusing to budge, there appeared no chance of Dindane playing in the FA Cup final and he also feared his spell of inactivity could see him overlooked by Sven Goran Eriksson for the World Cup.

But after a personal plea to the French club’s chairman, Lens finally agreed not to hold Portsmouth to that arrangement last week and Dindane returned to the pitch with two goals to drag his team to a draw.

Avram Grant summed it up when he said: “We could write many books about this season and we are happy about things that we shouldn’t have to be happy about.”

Dindane looks set to stay in the Premier League this summer and his obvious joy at turning out for Portsmouth is admirable.

“When I heard I would be allowed to play again, I was really happy,” he said. “I’m a football player and if you are not allowed to play because of a contract situation between two clubs, it’s very difficult. It came later than I hoped but I say ‘Thank you’ to the chairman of Lens.

It had looked like his return would be marked only by a 24th Premier League defeat of the season when Ivan Klasnic glanced in from Jack Wilshere’s cross and Kevin Davies was given an easy finish after a wonderful run from Vladimir Weiss. But Dindane found the net from crosses from Frederic Piquionne and John Utaka to secure a draw.

Bolton (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson; Weiss (Chung Yong, 69), Wilshere (M Davies, 81), Muamba, Taylor; Klasnic (Elmander, 75), K Davies. Substitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), Samuel, Ricketts, Cohen.

Portsmouth (4-4-2): James; Vanden Borre, Mokoena, Rocha, Sowah; Yebda (Piquionne, 46), Hughes, Brown, Smith; Dindane, Utaka. Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Ward, Ritchie, Bouba Diop, Mullins, Wilson.

Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire).

Booked: Bolton Muamba; Portsmouth Hughes.

Man of the match: Dindane.

Attendance: 20,526.

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