Pompey win Asia Trophy
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Portsmouth beat Premier League rivals Liverpool on penalties to lift the Asia Trophy.
Penalty failures from new Liverpool signings Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun gave Portsmouth victory in the Asia Trophy final.
With the sides goalless after 90 minutes penalties were required to decide a winner and, after Torres and Benayoun both had their penalties saved by Portsmouth goalkeeper David James, it was left to Niko Kranjcar to successfully convert to allow Pompey to lift the trophy.
It was Liverpool, driven by a ferocious Momo Sissoko, who had dominated the game and Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp was forced to watch on as his side were pinned into their own half.
However, the Anfield outfit could not convert chances and possession into goals.
Dirk Kuyt wasted a glorious opportunity on 35 minutes when Jermaine Pennant, who will have pleased Reds manager Rafa Benitez with his positive pre-season form, crossed well from the right only for the Dutch striker to head at James in the Pompey goal from close-range.
Liverpool were almost severely punished for Kuyt's miss six minutes before half-time when Portsmouth's Gary O'Neil broke the offside trap to meet a Sulley Ali Muntari pass.
O'Neil, however, wasted the opportunity by shooting straight at Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina when clean through.
After the interval Benitez introduced Torres in a bid to give his side the clinical edge they had lacked in the first-half.
Liverpool's £20million record signing was not eligible to start the game because he had still not received international clearance from the Spanish Football Association, which had also kept him out of the Reds' 3-1 semi-final victory against South China.
However, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore had reached an agreement with Redknapp in the Pompey dug-out immediately prior to kick-off, which allowed the Spaniard to be named on the Liverpool bench.
Portsmouth, though, were then the closest to breaking the deadlock when Tresor Lomano Lua Lua cut in from the right of the penalty area and deceived Reina with an early effort which rattled the woodwork.
Benitez's side continued to boast the share of possession and the Spanish tactician introduced Steven Gerrard, who is not being rushed back from a stomach muscle strain, with five minutes remaining, but penalties were needed.
Portsmouth's new striker John Utaka missed first up, but then James produced his two saves from Torres and Benayoun, following successful Liverpool strikes from Gerrard and Kuyt.
Matt Taylor, Lua Lua and Hermann Hreidarsson then cooly dispatched their kicks and it was left to Kranjcar to hand Portsmouth a 4-2 penalty win.