UEFA CUP DRAW: POMPEY TO FACE AC
By Site reporter
Tuesday 07 Oct 2008 10:39:00
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Pompey will host AC Milan in the group stage of the UEFA Cup. They will also play Heerenveen, SC Braga and VfL Wolfsburg.

The first game is away to Braga, then it's home to AC Milan, away to Wolfsburg and home to Heerenveen.

Oct 23: Braga (away)
Nov 6: No game
Nov 27: AC Milan (home)
Dec 4: Wolfsburg (away)
Dec 17: Heerenveen (home)

Pompey's Peter Crouch said the Blues wouldn't be intimidated by the likes of World Cup winner Paolo Maldini, Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldinho.

Instead, he hopes the five-time European champions' illustrious lineup might be a little intimidated by an aging stadium complete with raucous supporters and tiny dressing rooms. 'They're a little bit smaller than most, but Paolo Maldini will be able to say he's done it all now,' Crouch said.

'Hopefully we can use that to our advantage and make it difficult for them. Get the supporters behind us and hopefully that'll give us an extra chance of a surprise.

'Everyone's expecting them to be in the Champions League, so it's a surprise they're even in the UEFA Cup. It's fantastic for the players, but also the supporters. No one expected to see AC Milan at Fratton Park.'

Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie told www.portsmouthfc.co.uk: 'I know a lot of our fans would have loved the chance to see Pompey play in the San Siro, but bringing AC Milan to Fratton Park is really as big as it gets in Europe.

'But we will enjoy it and I am sure our fans will pinch themselves thinking Portsmouth Football Club are going to play AC Milan in European competition.'

'I know our fans, the players and everyone connected with the club will really be up for this one - and I think the atmosphere is going to be something else.

'To bring Milan to our ground in something other than a pre-season friendly really does represent the progress we have made at our club.

'Everybody connected with the club deserves to savour the night – such a big occasion on the big stage. That apart, our group has a really nice balance, with a bit of everything in it, so we can be pleased on the whole.

'Ironically we go back to Portugal to play Braga, just 10 a few miles from where we were treated so well by our hosts Vitoria Guimaraes in the last round. And now we meet another good side.

'After Milan we go to German club Wolfsburg before hosting Dutch side Heerenveen. There’s a nice flavour to our group, one from which we feel we have the scope to progress.”

Milan director Umberto Gandini said: 'It’s great for big clubs to play Premier League clubs in this competition. We haven’t played Portsmouth in our history, but there are a couple of links between us.

'Peter Crouch plays there and we’ve played against him twice in two Champions League finals when he was at Liverpool. Also, Portsmouth sold Mark Hateley to AC Milan back in the years before Silvio Berlusconi took over the club."

Here is the full draw:

GROUP A: Schalke 04, Paris SG, MANCHESTER CITY, Racing Santander, FC Twente

GROUP B: Benfica, Olympiacos, Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin, Metalist Kharkiv

GROUP C: Sevilla, VfB Stuttgart, Sampdoria, Partizan Belgrade, Standard Liege

GROUP D: TOTTENHAM, Spartak Moscow, Udinese, Dinamo Zagreb, NEC Nijmegen

GROUP E: AC Milan, Heerenveen, SC Braga, PORTSMOUTH, VfL Wolfsburg

GROUP F: Hamburg, Ajax, Slavia Prague, ASTON VILLA, MSK Zilina

GROUP G: Valencia, Club Brugge, Rosenborg, FC Copenhagen, Saint-Etienne

GROUP H: CSKA Moscow, Deportivo La Coruna, Feyenoord, Nancy, Lech Poznan

Discuss the draw on the forum. 



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