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Kanu scores for Portsmouth, lifts English FA Cup

Posted by By KUNLE SOLAJA, Wembley, London on 2008/05/18 | Views: 1270 |

Kanu scores for Portsmouth, lifts English FA Cup


Nwankwo Kanu, the gangling Nigerian striker was the hero last night, propelling Portsmouth (Pompey) to a remarkable FA Cup. It is Pompey’s first win since 1939. What a coincidence for the Nigerian hero, spotting jersey number 27 in the competition’s 127th edition.

• Becomes first Nigerian to net goal in Cup Final

Nwankwo Kanu, the gangling Nigerian striker was the hero last night, propelling Portsmouth (Pompey) to a remarkable FA Cup. It is Pompey’s first win since 1939. What a coincidence for the Nigerian hero, spotting jersey number 27 in the competition’s 127th edition.

First as SoccerStar, sister publication of Sunday Sun previewed ahead of the final, Kanu became the first Nigerian scorer in the FA Cup final and the first Nigerian to have won the cup twice, having earlier done so with Arsenal in 2002. His goal in the 27th minute was indeed a Nigerian-manufactured. Compatriot, John Utaka was the architect, who lobbed the ball from the right wing. Cardiff ’s goalkeeper, Peter Enckelman fumbled with it. While a defender rushed in to assist, Kanu was the smartest player around as he slotted home the ball from close range.

What a heroic feat for the player who had 12 minutes earlier made a bold effort that could have been one of the most beautiful goals of the FA Cup final.
A float of the ball from Sulley Muntari found Kanu who spun round a Cardiff defender, also beating goalkeeper Enckelman roundly before his left footer hit the outside of the post.
He was really the happiest man in the sumptuous re-built Wembley as his goal has put his club in the UEFA Cup next season and also made his manager, Harry Redknapp, the first English manager of an FA Cup winner since 1995.

Shortly after he was substituted by Milan Baros in the 86th minute, he donned a cap with the inscription "King". He was really one. "This is my most memorable FA Cup final" he said after the final whistle. He had less than 30 minutes of play when he featured for the victorious Arsenal in 2002. This time, he had 86 minutes and playing more prominent role.

He danced with the cup when it was his time to lift it up after Captain Sol Campbell had collected it from Guest of Honour, Bobby Robson who incidentally was his manager when he played for England .
Shortly after, Kanu put on a T-shirt with the inscription "I love Nigeria ". "I feel good, I feel happy," Kanu said. "I thank everyone, my wife, my two children and all the fans, pointing at the terrace where the jubilating fans were still shouting.

"When I see them, I feel proud. They make me run the extra mile. Recalling the big miss in the 22nd minute which was perhaps the best individual move of the encounter, Kanu said: "that’s football; the most important thing is that we are going to Europe and we shall conquer again"

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