Banzai! Shoya shines in Portimão

With exciting new Japanese signing Shoya Nakajima leading the line, Portimonense put shell-shocked visitors Feirense to the sword from the word go to record only their second league victory of the current campaign at the municipal stadium on Monday evening.

On-fire Nakajima gave early notice of deadly intent when going close on two occasions within the opening 10 minutes before being put through by Paulinho on the left wing – the fleet-footed winger bore down on the Feirense goal and there was little keeper Caio could do to prevent his fierce shot, helped along by a slight deflection, ending up in the back of the net.

With only 19 minutes on the clock, Nakajima struck again, running on to a Fabrício pass after the Brazilian had wriggled clear of two Feirense defenders in close attendance, to thump the ball home.

Two to the good, Portimonense continued to pour forward but were caught by a well-worked counter attack just before the half-hour mark which saw Etebo connect perfectly with the ball for a first-time shot into helpless keeper Ricardo Ferreira’s bottom right-hand corner.

Undeterred, Wellington had the ball in the back of the Feirense net once more minutes later, only to see his effort ruled off-side before Caio did well to keep out Fabrício.

Portimonense returned with equal determination after the interval and Nakajima soon forced Caio into action following more sustained home pressure culminating in a gilt-edged chance for Wellington, the 24-year-old forward shooting over from close range.

Fabrício was next to fail to make the game safe when just failing to connect with a cross, the series of misses almost coming back to haunt dominant Portimonense as Etebo should really have done better than blast over when clear on goal at the other end.

After Ewerton and Wellington had been replaced for the remaining 20 minutes, it was Fabrício’s turn again to kick himself after pulling the ball wide from close range when it appeared easier to score. There then followed a late onslaught with Feirense in search of an equaliser, but Portimonense stood firm to run out the convincing 2-1 winners.

“A just and entirely deserved victory,” manager Vítor Oliveira, who must be hoping his team will have gained confidence from their performance ahead of this Friday’s away trip to league leaders Porto, commented after the game.

In other news, the Portuguese league managed to create last-minute confusion over its already convoluted and somewhat idiosyncratic Cup competition: having announced the draw for the third round group phase which began on Wednesday, as reported here last week, the belated disqualification of second division Real for the fielding of an illegible player during the previous round and subsequent reinstatement of Belenenses, suddenly sees Portimonense paired with Vitória de Setúbal, Benfica and Braga in Group A rather than the intended Group B trio of União da Madeira, Marítimo and Sporting Lisbon.

As a consequence, Setúbal will visit the Algarve on October 7, not this mid-week as first intended, with trips to Lisbon and Braga due on October 25 and November 29.

Elsewhere, Sporting Covilhã have appointed José Augusto as their new manager following the departure of Felipe Gouveia. The move represents the 44-year-old’s first foray away from Portimão where he has coached the juniors, took over first team affairs and most recently filled the post of Director of Football.


Photo: Portimonense’s new signing Shoya Nakajima fights for the ball with Feirense player Kakuba at the Portimão Municipal Stadium on September 18