The current lack of striking power in Portimonense’s squad – all three first team strikers are injured – was more than compensated for by captain Ricardo Pessoa during the club’s latest brace of second division matches.

Away at Leixões in mid-week, Pessoa put the Algarveans ahead from the penalty spot after only eight minutes for a deserved 1-0 half-time lead.

However, the home side returned much improved for the second half and soon turned the tables to dominate the encounter 3-1 with 20 minutes left to play.

It was at this point that referee Duarte Gomes decided to intervene – first the official from Lisbon sent Leixões’ Matarazi off to allow Pessoa to grab his second from the spot, and then ensured that he became the most unpopular person in Matosinhos by awarding a third penalty deep into injury time, which Portimonense’s captain marvel again duly converted for a most unusual hat-trick, leaving the game drawn at 3-3.

Buoyed by that result, manager Lázaro Oliveira’s men made a very bright start to Sunday afternoon’s subsequent home fixture against Aves, the visitors’ having to thank the heroics of their keeper Quim for keeping the deficit down to a single strike. That ultimately decisive goal came on the half hour when new Japanese signing Kanazaki headed home from a pinpoint Ricardo Pessoa cross.

Aves began to find their feet during the second playing period, creating far better chances and might have equalised as Renato had keeper Marcio Ramos beaten, only to see his effort cleared off the line by the excellent Rui Correia to leave the final score line at 1-0.

The four points gained see Portimonense share second place with Penafiel in the league table, three points behind leaders Moreirense who will be the next visitors to the Algarve Wednesday week.

Meanwhile fellow Algarve second division club Farense have escaped the foot of the table following a goalless draw in Madeira and 2-0 home success over Covilhã, lifting them five points clear of this season’s solitary relegation place currently occupied by still win-less Trofense.  


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