Portsmouth's FA Cup hopes have been hit by the news that Hermann Hreidarsson, their versatile defender, and Danny Webber, the striker, face at least six months on the sidelines. A scan yesterday revealed Webber suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham. Hreidarsson ruptured an Achilles in the same game and will have surgery in London next week.
The news is a blow for Pompey ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Spurs at Wembley in two weeks' time as they seek some solace from a desperate season that is virtually certain to see them relegated from the Premier League. They also have seven other players out of action through injury, while Jamie O'Hara will be ineligible to play under the terms of his loan from his parent club, Spurs. Meanwhile Didier Drogba, the Chelsea striker, has been handed a two-match European ban by Uefa after being sent off in the Champions League defeat to Inter Milan earlier this month. The Ivory Coast forward was shown a red card after clashing with Thiago Motta in the last-16 second-leg game at Stamford Bridge, which Inter won 1-0 to go through 3-1 on aggregate.
He was originally ineligible for Chelsea's first four European games this season after being banned for six matches, two of them deferred, for his behaviour in last year's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. At the end of the away-goals defeat, Drogba harangued Tom Henning Ovrebo, the referee, and launched a foul-mouthed tirade on live television. The ban was later reduced to five matches, with two deferred. Uefa said yesterday they had decided not to invoke the suspended two-game ban because his red card against Inter was for a different type of incident. The European governing body have, however, extended his probationary period by two years.
Pablo Zabaleta will serve a two-match ban after picking up his 10th booking of the season in Manchester City's victory over Wigan. The Argentine defender will be suspended for Saturday's trip to Burnley and the home encounter with Birmingham on April 11. * Agencies