Portimonense: home and away
The 2017/2018 Liga NOS fixture list revealed last Friday evening sees Portimonense face a difficult start to the new season as they take on all of Portugal’s ‘top four’ away from home before Christmas.
The campaign to stay in the country’s top tier kicks off on August 9 with a home match against lowly Boavista but is then followed by a trip to Braga four days later. September brings two further big challenges as first Benfica and then Porto host the Algarveans on the 10th and 24th of that month respectively. Another Lisbon visit, in this case to Sporting, brings the year to a close on December 17.
The reverse fixtures taking the big clubs south are then scheduled for January 20 (Braga), February 11 (Benfica), February 25 (Porto) and finally April 29 (Sporting). Survival will, of course, not be determined by the outcome of these stand-out fixtures, but by success or failure in the week in, week out more mundane games against fellow ‘minnows’ such as Feirense, Aves, Moreirense and Tondela.
The same gala evening also revealed Portimonense’s first official match of the new season with Chaves providing the opposition at the resurfaced municipal stadium for the opening second phase League Cup tie on July 30.
Manager Vitor Oliveira’s men were further honoured with the fair play award for their performances in the second division last season while Ricardo Ferreira was singled out as the best goalkeeper at that level during 2016/17.
On the pitch, Portimonense travelled north to Penafiel last weekend where Ghanaian left back Lumor joined the rest of the squad at their pre-season training camp ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Marítimo. Fellow defender Inácio, on loan from Porto, is expected shortly but Chidera and Amilton are still absent due to various reasons while Saudi Arabian midfielder Mansour is having trials.