LIGA PORTUGAL BETCLIC:
Farense 3-1 Sporting Braga
Vitória Guimarães 1-2 Portimonense
Both Farense and Portimonense produced their best performances of the season last weekend to claim deserved victories over European competitions-bound Braga and Guimarães.
On Saturday evening, Bruno Duarte was the first to punish a series of defensive errors by the visitors when finding the back of the net in the 31st minute. Just over 5,000 fans then saw Rui Costa take full advantage of keeper Matheus losing the ball outside his own area to slot home the second just before the interval.
Following the restart, Costa could have put the match to bed but failed to convert a 51st-minute penalty. The let-off inspired Braga to pull one back through a Banza header shortly afterwards, but any hopes of a revival were snuffed out almost by return when man-of-the-match Mohamed Belloumi made no mistake in front of goal to establish the 3-1 final score line.
Next up for Farense is a trip to Moreirense on Saturday afternoon ahead of a Wednesday (September 27) home Allianz League Cup group stage fixture against Tondela. The third club in that Group C is Sporting Lisbon, who coincidentally will first be guests in the Algarve capital for a league match as soon as the following Saturday, September 30.
Not to be outshone, Portimonense travelled to Europa League contenders Guimarães 24 hours later and came away with their very own first win of the current season.
An otherwise uneventful opening half saw a 17th-minute Jota cross deflected by the unfortunate Filipe Relvas into his own net for an early home lead before Jota almost made it two with a shot against the crossbar.
The match continued without further noteworthy incident after the break until Manu Silva brought down Gonçalo Costa in the area 10 minutes from the end and Portimonense captain Carlinhos stepped up to successfully convert the VAR-confirmed penalty for the equaliser.
It was then Vinicius, in goal for the injured Nakamura, who produced a string of good saves to hold on to parity before Carlinhos further enhanced his already hero status with a brilliant finish with virtually the last kick of the match for the winner.
Portimonense next face champions Benfica back on home turf in front of what will be a full house this Sunday evening at 6pm.
By SKIP BANDELE