LIGA NOS: TONDELA 3-2 PORTIMONENSE
Portimonense managed to throw away a 2-0 half-time advantage on the road for the second time in three weeks and are now very much in danger of getting embroiled in the relegation dogfight as the season reaches its climax.
Whereas manager Antonio Folha’s men still came away with a point from Belenenses on March 16, Monday night’s ‘must-win’ trip to erstwhile bottom three Tondela turned into a major disappointment as a comfortable lead was overturned by the hosts during a frantic second period of play.
Things began well when Pedro Sá headed on a 20th-minute Paulinho corner at the near post for Jadson to bury past helpless keeper Cláudio Ramos from close range. Dener then tested Ramos on two more occasions with Tabata forcing another good save while Ricardo Ferreira proved equal to efforts from Murillo and Joãozinho at the other end of the pitch before a Paulinho free kick found its way into the Tondela goal just before the interval to make it 2-0.
But the match proved to be far from over after the restart as the hosts, with nothing to lose, threw caution to the wind. Just after the hour mark, Tomané reduced arrears with a well-placed shot before Pité equalised from the edge of the area in the 72ndminute.
In between the two goals, Portimonense should really have made the game safe, Jackson Martinez failing to get off his shot when put clean through by Pedro Sá while substitute Aylton Boa Morte’s strike was beaten away for a corner by Ramos.
As it was, Tondela captain Ricardo Costa continued to fight back and scored what turned out to be the winner with five minutes remaining on the clock.
Portimonense did finally wake up to their predicament, but a flurry of corner kicks as well as late efforts from Wellington proved too little too late.
While Folha lamented his team’s inability to hold the ball during the second half, Tondela counterpart Pepa celebrated his side’s game of a lifetime.
The win saw Tondela climb out of the relegation zone, reducing Portimonense’s safety margin to five points with six matches remaining – the first of those will take place this Saturday evening against champions Porto at the Municipal Stadium.
By SKIP BANDELE