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Pompey 0 Rayo Vallecano 2

28 July 2013

Attention now turns to League Two opener

Pompey’s final dress rehearsal for the 2013/14 campaign ended in a 2-0 defeat against Rayo Vallecano.

A Saballs header and fine finish from Adrian were enough for the side who finished eighth in the Spanish top-flight last term.

But the Fratton faithful would have been impressed with the attractive passing game on show from their side in an entertaining first half.

The hosts were without the injured trio of Danny East, Tom Craddock and Ricky Holmes, while new signing Simon Ferry had to wait until the second half to make his Blues bow.

Pompey started brightly and Alex Galvez had to be alert to stop Patrick Agyemang latching onto David Connolly’s fine through ball after just five minutes.

There were still glimpses of the Spaniards’ class, however, and John Sullivan made a good stop to deny Saballs.

The keeper then did well to stay on his feet and stop tricky Rayo winger Rida from rounding him and having an empty net to shoot into.

It was end-to-end stuff and Johnny Ertl should have broken the deadlock on 18 minutes, firing well wide after Jed Wallace’s effort had been blocked.

Vallecano went straight down the other end to open the scoring themselves, Saballs reacting quickest to head home after Sullivan could only parry Roberto Trashorras’ shot.

They might have added a second when Agyemang lost possession inside his own box on 25 minutes, but Sullivan did well to save Trashorras’ strike with his feet.

But playing against Spanish opposition was clearly having a positive impact on Agyemang, who tricked his way past three challenges before finally being denied by a last-gasp Anaitz Arbilla tackle.

Pompey were certainly not looking over-awed by their La Liga opponents, with both sides showcasing some neat passing football.

But it was Vallecano who scored a second just before the break, with Adrian arrowing an unstoppable drive past Sullivan from the edge of the box.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Rayo Vallecano 2

Pompey had impressed with their passing game in the first half, but it was route-one football that almost saw them reduce the deficit just after the restart.

Sullivan’s long ball forward found its way through to Connolly, although the bounce was unkind on the striker and he could only glance the ball into David Cobeno’s arms.

The visitors were also looking less fluent and Mario received a yellow card from referee David Phillips following a clumsy challenge on Andy Barcham.

An avalanche of substitutions midway through the second half did not help the half improve as a spectacle.

Arbilla did flash a free-kick inches over the crossbar on 77 minutes, though, after Sonny Bradley had conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box.

And at the other end, Ryan Bird showed great perseverance to chase down a seemingly hopeless cause, only to see Cobeno’s clearance ricochet off him and fly narrowly wide.

But that was the final incident of note as Pompey’s attention now turns to next Saturday’s League Two opener against Oxford.

Pompey (4-4-2): Sullivan; Moutaouakil (Webster 68), Devera, Bradley, Butler (Triggs 68); Wallace, Ertl (c), Padovani (Ferry 46), Barcham (Awford 68); Agyemang (Bird 61), Connolly (Harris 68)
Sub not used: Smith

Rayo Vallecano (4-4-2): Cobeno (c); Arbilla, Galvez (Garcia 46), Mario (Tito 68), Mojica (Baena 46); Carlos, Trashorras (Isi 46), Adrian, Rida (Saul 68); Saballs (Lass 68 (Cristian 77)), Perea (Juanito 39)
Goals: Saballs 19, Adrian 45
Booked: Mario
Subs not used: Ruben, Ismael, Nacho, Diamanka, Alberto

Referee: David Phillips

Attendance: 4,945

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