Portsmouth will host Sunderland at Fratton Park in the second leg of their League One playoff semi-final on Wednesday.
The first leg ended in Sunderland’s favour as they claimed a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light. Chris Maguire scored the only goal in a tight game. Despite the win, the game did present Sunderland with a problem. Centre-back Alim Ozturk was sent off in the game, and he will miss the second leg due to suspension. They are planning to appeal the red card so the outcome could turn out to be different.
Portsmouth were defensively solid in the game but failed to create any clear chances in the Sunderland box. Manager Kenny Jackett, however, is confident that his side should be able to overturn the deficit on their own turf. “It was always going to be close, and it sets it up nicely for Thursday night,” he said after the game “We’re a goal behind but we’re more than capable of getting back into the tie. We’ll be backed by a full house and we really hope to get the crowd behind us.”
Pompey finished fourth in the table, just three points above Sunderland. They were close to gaining automatic promotion but missed out by just three points in the end. Barnsley, who finished second got the direct entry to the Championship for next season. Their attack has been one of their major strengths this season. Portsmouth scored 83 goals in the season, and only winners Luton Town managed more in League One.
But they failed to score in the first leg, and Sunderland will have a narrow advantage as a result. The Black Cats are aiming to get back into the Championship at the first attempt. Sunderland drew a whopping 19 games in the season, and that proved to be their major downfall. They lost just five games, which was less than any other side in the league. Their form coming into the playoffs was not promising either.
Sunderland lost their last two games against Fleetwood Town and Southend United. They were winless in their previous four games of the season. The Black Cats were underdogs in the first leg but managed to pull out a result on their own patch. The first leg was an even contest, but a superb strike from Chris Maguire has given them a slender lead. Maguire came on as a substitute, but he should start on Thursday. Alim Ozturk’s ban has been overturned, and he should retain his place in defence.
Portsmouth vs Sunderland Predictions
Even though Pompey will have the home advantage, Sunderland only need a draw to go through. Considering that they excelled at that in the season, another one seems likely at Fratton Park. Both sides should score, and a 1-1 result looks like a sound prediction. These two sides have met four times this season, and two draws were seen in those four. Another draw should see Sunderland progress to the final where they will face Charlton or Doncaster.