The English League One playoffs continue as the second legs gets underway on Thursday. The first game played, will be on Thursday, as Sunderland travel to Portsmouth with a 1-0 advantage after the first leg. Sunderland dominated play the first 60 minutes, but it took sub Chris Maguire to deliver a stunning goal to give Sunderland the lead in the 62nd minute. Things got a bit uncomfortable for Sunderland when defended Alim Ozturk denied a goal scoring opportunity and was sent off with a straight red in the 67th minute. Portsmouth was all over Sunderland after that happened and were unfortunate not to score a goal from a free kick that smashed against the crossbar.
The winner of this matchup will go on to the final and fight to get back up to the Championship league and be just one step away from getting back to the Premier League. Each team has a rich history in English football, but it has been quite some time since either team has tasted any glory.
Portsmouth have won the top division of English Football two times, in 1948-1949 and 1949-1950, the second division one time, in 2002, -2003, and the third division three times, in 1923-24, 1961-62 and 1982-83. The Pompey have struggled since being relegated from the Premier League in 2010 as they were relegated all the way down to League 2, the fourth division of soccer in England, from 2013-2017, but they are just two wins away from getting back to the Championship for the first time since 2011-2012.
Sunderland have a much more rich history, than Portsmouth, but only your great-grandparents probably remember. The Black Cats have won the first division six times, but have not won the title since the 1935-36 season. They have also won the second division five times, with the most recent championship being 2006-2007, and the third division one time in 1987-88.
Here is my pick for the second leg of the League One playoff game Thursday.
Portsmouth (+129) vs Sunderland (+240): Draw: (+240)
Portsmouth are winless in their last four games since coming off their eight game winning streak to get into playoff position. In their last 10 games overall Portsmouth are 6-2-2 and at home are 5-4-1 in their last 10 played at Fratton Park.
Sunderland put an end to their four game winning streak, with that win on Saturday, as a poor end to the season ruined Sunderland’s chances of getting the automatic promotion spot. In Sunderland’s last 10 game they sit at 4-3-3 and on the road they are 4-3-3 as well in their last 10.
I like this game to end in a draw and for Sunderland to advance to the finals.
In the last five H2H meetings the series is tied at 1-3-1, but in the last five meetings at Fratton Park Portsmouth lead 3-2-0.
YTD Soccer Results: 60-57