Liga Portugal Betclic:
Estoril 4-0 Farense
Portimonense 1-2 Sporting
League leaders Sporting ended the calendar year with a hard-fought victory over Portimonense at the Municipal Stadium last Saturday night.
The Algarveans gave as good as they got on this occasion and were the more dangerous side during the opening 45 minutes with Guga and Carlinhos coming closest to scoring.
Following the break, the visitors began to create more chances and a defence-splitting pass from Pote allowed Gyokeres to put away the opener. The lead did not last long, however, a 69th-minute Gonçalo Costa cross setting up Filipe Relvas to head home the equaliser.
Thereafter, Hélio Varela, who will be at the African Cup of Nations with Cape Verde for the next few weeks, came agonizingly close to beating goalkeeper Adan before Paulinho grabbed the winner for Sporting with a little help of an unfortunate Alemão deflection.
Farense were in action 24 hours earlier but enjoyed little joy at Estoril as the Canaries scored a brace either side of the interval without reply for a facile 4-0 win.
The newly-promoted club from the Algarve’s capital, currently in eighth place in the table on 18 points, start the new year with a home match against 14th-placed Gil Vicente on Saturday afternoon; Portimonense, in 15th place on 15 points, travel to 16th-placed Rio Ave on Sunday evening.
Those two 2024 ‘pipe openers’ will be followed by the eagerly-awaited first Algarve derby for some time when Farense visit Portimonense on Friday, January 12 at 8.15pm.
By SKIP BANDELE